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/v/ g^ Library 

Arnold Arboretum 


Harvard Uiiiv^*sity 

Susan Delano McKelvey 

5n^«M i^€y\i 









SEVE]1TH HiUh llEPOltT. 








JOHH B. J0HH80H, M. D. 
Gborob a. MADTLT^. 
Lbomabd Matthswsjs 
William 1L H. Fkttus. 
Jambs B. Ybatmah. 

Hbbbt Bub,* 

President of the Board of Pnblio 
Schools of St. Louis.* 

WnfiriBLD S. CHAPLnr, 

Chancellor of Washington Unlrer- 

Mblyih L. Grat,* 

President of the Academy of Science 
of St. lionls.* 

Dahiel S. Tdttle, 

Bishop of the Diocese of Mlssonri.* 

Ctbus p. Walbridob, 

Mayor of the City of St. Louis.* 

A. D. CUKNINOHAM, Secretary. 

* Ex- officio, 

1 Blected January 8, 1896, to succeed Dr. Geo. J. Bngelmann, who resigned in 
November, 1886, haying met with the Board since December, 1889. 

8 Blected April 10,. 1895, to sacceed Geo. S. Drake, who resigned in Febmary, 
1886, having met with the Board since April, 1890. 

8 Blected President of the School Board, March 12, 1896, in place of Frederick 
W. Brockman, who had met with the Board sinG|9 November, 1893. 

4 Elected President of the Academy of Science, January 6, 1896, to succeed Dr. 
John Green, who had met with the Board during 1895. 



Jacobi,t Koch,t Terraciano,§ and Baker || in their works 
upon the genus Agave have all given attention to forms 
occurring within our territory. Dr. John Torrey made a 
good studylf of those collected in connection with the 
Survey of the United States and Mexican Boundary under 
Lieutenant Emory. But Dr. Engelmann's ** able paper 
still remains the only monograph specially devoted to our 
species, and is still the most complete and best authority 
concerning them. In connection with his manuscript notes 
and drawings relating to the genus, it forms one of the many 
monuments of his skill and patient industry. 

During the years that have intervened since 1875, our 
southwestern territory has been more extensively explored 
and is much better known. It was hoped that a further study 
of this genus might add to our knowledge of its species, and of 
their distribution. No place could be more appropriate for 
such a work than the Missouri Botanical Garden. In its 
large succulent house the collection of our own and foreign 

♦ Revised from a paper written as a thesis in connection with work 
for the degree of Ph. D. in Washington University, June, 1895. 

t G. A. von Jacobi, Versuch zu einer systematischen Ordnnng der 
Agaveen. 1864. Zweiter Versuch, etc. 1870. Hamburg. 

X Earl Eoch, Agaveen Studien. 1865. 

§ Achille Terraciano, Primo Contributo ad una Monographia deUe 
Agave, Napoli. 1875. 

II J. G. Baker, Handbook of the Amaryllideae, London. 1888. 

^ J. Torrey, Botany of the Boundary, 1858, 213. 

♦♦ Transactions of Academy of Science of St. Louis, iii. 291 to 822. 
Reprint issued December, 1876, 3 to 36. Botanical Works of George 
Engelmann. Collected for Henry Shaw, 1887, 300 to 325. 



Agaves is probably the most extensive in the United States. 
It was the scene of Dr. Engelmann's labors. It still con- 
tains many of his plants, and young plants raised from 
them. Its herbarium contains his type specimens, manu- 
script notes, drawings, and reference books, in connection 
with its large collection and library. 

Every possible facility has been afforded me in this study. 
Much trouble has been taken to open correspondence with 
residents in the Agave regions, and to obtain fresh material 
from the field. I am grateful for the opportunities given, 
and very especially so to Dr. Trelease ; had it not been for 
his kindly suggestions, encouragement and assistance, the 
work would not have been possible. 

I have also had the use of the specimens in the Gray 
Herbarium of Harvard University, and the herbaria of 
Columbia College and the United States Department of 
Agriculture. I wish to express my thanks to Dr. Robinson, 
Dr. Britton and Dr. Coville for the use of the material in 
their charge, and to Mr. T. S. Brandegee for the use of 
his private collection. 

Thanks are also due, for much courtesy and assistance, 
to the following persons : — 

Professor P. H. Rolfs, of Lake City, Mr. H. J. Webber, 
of Eustis, Mr. C. T. McCarty, of Ankona, Mr. Ejrk Mun- 
roe, of Cocoanut Grove, Florida; Mr. C. G. Pringle, of 
Charlotte, Captain John G. Bourke,U. S. A., of Fort Ethan 
Allen, Vermont; Dr. J. T. Rothrock, of West Chester, 
Pennsylvania; Mr. C. R. Dodge, of Washington, D. C; 
Dr. E. A. Mearns, U. S. A., of Fort Myer, Virginia; Dr. 
B. D. TenEyck, U. S. A., of Eagle Pass, Dr. B. D. Tay- 
lor, U. S. A., of Fort Bliss, Professor C. H. Tyler Town- 
send, of Brownsville, Mr. G. C. Nealley, of Corpus 
Christi, Mr. J. N. Gilcrease, of Sierra Blanca, Mrs. Anna 
B. Nickels, of Laredo, Mrs. Maud M. Briggs, of El Paso, 
Texas; Mr. M. E. Jones, of Salt Lake City, Utah; Mr. C. 
R. Orcutt, of San Diego, Mr. S. B. Parish, of San Ber- 
nardino, Mr. F. Sutphens, of Witch Creek, California; 


Dr. T. E. Wilcox, U. S. A., of Fort Huachuca, Dr. P. T. 
Straub, U. S. A., of San Carlos, Dr. Berkeley Macauley, 
U. S. A., of Fort Apache, Professor James W. Tourney, 
of Tucson, Arizona; Professor E. W. Wooton, of Las 
Cruces, Dr. James K. Kimball, U. S. A., of Fort Wingate, 
Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Allaire, of Deming, Mrs. D. C. Bil- 
lings, of Las Graces, Mrs. J. A. Baird, of Las Graces, 
Mrs. Angus Gampbell, of Gliff, and to Dr. and Mrs. W. O. 
Owen, Quartermaster James E. Brett, Gaptain and Mrs* 
A. G. Markley, and Golonel and Mrs. Jacob F. Kent, of 
Fort Bayard, New Mexico. 

The work has been a most interesting one. It has opened 
up to me a number of questions, some of which, no doubt, 
could be soon answered by proper field work, while others 
would repay careful study through a series of years. 

In the genus Agave, Baker * recognized one hundred 
and thirty-eight species, and quite a number have been 
since described. As our knowledge increases, it is probable 
that the number which will stand as legitimate species may 
be much reduced. Many descriptions have been made from 
plants growing in European greenhouses whose inflorescence 
is unknown. Some of the old descriptions are so meager 
as to give no certainty as to the plants described; others so 
minutely describe single conservatory plants whose counter- 
part has never been seen, that the names given probably 
stand for these isolated plants. 

Young plants of a given species may differ from one 
another, and from the mature plants, so greatly as to be 
unrecognizable. Under the changed conditions in which 
they are obliged to live in greenhouses, these plants 
frequently develop peculiarities which may or may not re- 
peat themselves in successive generations and which may or 
may not be found in the natural state. 

Owing to the size and weight and formidable armor of 
the Agaves, as well as the difficulty in pressing and drying 

* Handbook of the Amaryllideae. 1888. London. 



SO as to make good herbarium specimens, they have been 
very generally avoided by collectors, and consequently are 
poorly represented in herbaria. Those coUectors who have 
been able to take the time and trouble necessary, have per- 
haps not found them in flower, and have been obliged to 
content themselves with leaves or parts of leaves ; others 
seeing a plant in bloom have been interested in getting the 
flowers, and have found themselves sufficiently burdened 
without collecting the leaves. It is comparatively seldom 
that leaves, flowers, capsules, and seeds of a given species 
have been collected by one person or in one place. Quite 
frequently specimens have been selected because of some- 
thing unusual in their aspect, while the ordinary form has 
been passed by with the assumption, fancied or real, that 
some one else has collected that. ' It is often hard to tell 
what herbarium sheets may or may not be placed together 
to represent a plant.* 

* Botanical collectors, are, as a rule, much interested in their ** finds," 
and wish to have good work done with them. They are usually weU 
aware of the fact that field notes of all salient points that cannot weU be 
shown in dried specimens are very valuable. These should include notes 
of habit, surroundings, color of flowers, pollination, maximum, minimum, 
and average size. Where variable, it is very desirable that leaves should 
be selected representing different stages of development in both young 
and mature plants, and that careful notes of abnormal forms should be 
made. Cross-sections, and outlines and measurements of cross-sections 
are useful. The inflorescence, capsules and seeds should be well repre- 
sented if possible. If the scape is a large one, cross or longitudinal 
sections of it and its branches, with bracts and flowers attached, could 
be taken. Some of the flowers should be split longitudinally and opened 
out in pressing. 

The process of drying fleshy plants like Agaves can be much facili- 
tated and improved by dipping their parts for a few seconds at a time in 
boiling water, and repeating the process till they are softened. Care 
should be taken not to injure the color of flowers by immersing them too 
long at a time. 

Mr. C. G. Pringle, whose success with specimens is very marked, 
vnrites that he does not always scald the leaves, but that a week in press 
with two or three changes a day and exposure to the direct rays of the 
sun, suffices to dry the leaves of most species. He never scalds the 


For all these reasons, it is very difficult for a student in 
the laboratory to decide upon the limits of a species or a 
variety, or to make satisfactory descriptions. An unsigned 
article* has recently appeared in one of our journals whose 
writer, while advocating the founding of a garden in Ari- 
zona for the cultivation of plants peculiar to our arid region, 
is led to say: "No group of American plants, with the 
exception, perhaps, of the Cacti, is more difficult to under- 
stand from specimens preserved in herbaria, and not much 
light is thrown upon these plants [Agaves], by the occa- 
sional isolated individuals which drag out a more or less 
miserable existence in the confinement of northern glass- 
houses. Labor expended in herbaria in the study of the 
plants we have mentioned, is practically thrown away, as 
it can only be partial, and never final." . 

Very little of our work can be regarded as complete or 
" final,'* and we should accomplish little if our efforts 
should cease for that reason. A desert garden would be 
a valuable acquisition. I can think of various questions I 
should like to see tested in a place where these plants could 
be systematically observed and compared under natural 
conditions, and where experiments could be well controlled. 
In the absence of such a garden, however, I think that 
much can be done in laboratory and field if gopd specimens 
are collected, and proper studies made. 

We should be much assisted in forming correct ideas of 
the genus and the affinities of its species, if collectors would 
take habit photographs of the plants in their natural sur- 
roundings. Mr. C. G. Pringle, and Dr. T. E. Wilcox, have 
done valuable work of this sort. 

When practicable, living plants should be sent to botan- 
ical gardens where they will receive care and study. 

In this paper I have tried to bring together such informa- 
tion as I could gain concerning our Agaves from library, 
herbaria, conservatory and field, and to add what it was 

* *' An Arizona Agave." Garden and Forest^ May 8, 1895. 


possible to learn in a short time through correspondence 
and the examination of all available living material. Dr. 
Trelease has kindly arranged to have the plants illustrated 
in such a way that they can be readily recognized. I shall 
be very glad if my work may serve as some stimulus to . 
further collection and observation. 

The Agaves occupy a prominent place amongst the char- 
acteristic plants of the hot and arid regions of our conti- 
nent. The genus contains a pretty distinctly marked 
group including the largest and tallest of our herbaceous 
plants. Their flowering stalks sometimes rise to the height 
of forty feet or even more, and their conspicuous inflores- 
cence renders them objects of great^picturesqueness. 

They are much prized by all who take an interest in the^ 
cultivation of plants. Few conservatories or gardens are 
without them. They make a most effective decoration for 
lawns, terraces, rockwork and pleasure grounds. Their 
large size, symmetry of form, stately and elegant propor- 
tions were well characterized by Linnaeus when he applied 
to them the name " Ayamli'^ noble, admirable, wonderful. 
By far the largest number of species have their homes 
in Mexico, Central America, and the Southwestern portions 
of the United States from Texas to California. Two or 
three forms are native to our Southern States, and a few 
perhaps to South America and the West Indies. A. 
Americana, the species most commonly seen in small col- 
lections, is native to the fertile soil of Opam in Southeastern 
Mexico, but it readily adapts itself to new localities. It 
has become naturalized in the Mediterranean region, in the 
West Indies and probably in Texas and Florida. Other 
species have become naturalized in Florida and the adjacent 

The thick fleshy leaves of Agaves generally have theit* 
broad bases imbricated over one another around a short 
axis, thus forming a compact tuft with comparatively little 
evaporating surface. The cuticle is adapted to resist 
transpiration. Roots and leaves contain large quantities of 


mucilage, saponin and salts which hold water in solution 
with great tenacity, and enable the plants to survive through 
long protracted seasons of dryness incident to a land of 
almost perpetual sunshine. Like other plants with a well 
developed aqueous tissue, they may be justly compared to 
camels, the " ships of the desert." 

Most species are arm^d with stout spines, marginal 
prickles, corneous margins, or dry fibrous filaments. These 
render efficient protection against the attacks of hungry 
and thirsty animals, who would gladly seize upon their 
juicy and nutrient substance. 

Agaves usually grow slowly. In their natural habitats 
some attain maturity in three or four years, while others 
require ten to fifteen years or more. Taken from their 
homes and placed under new and strange conditions, they 
seldom make an effort to bloom. Although they respond 
to care, and grow into fine plants much prized in decora- 
tion, so rarely are their flowers seen that they have long 
been called ** Century Plants," because of the old idea 
that they bloom once in a hundred years only. 

When the period of inflorescence arrives, a great change 
is observed. The newer leaves are successively smaller and 
narrower; the central bud thickens, and after a season 
begins to shoot upwards with marvelous rapidity. What 
at first appear like narrow young leaves clustered around 
it, gradually become more and more separated by the elon- 
gating axis, and are seen to be bracts placed upon it at 
regular intervals. 

Dr. Engelmann* gives a fine description, accompanied 
with illustrations, of the flowering of A. Shawii at the Mis- 
souri Botanical Garden (Plates 44 and 47.) 

A plant here (Plates 62 and 6a, Figs. 5, 6, 7), labeled 
A. horrida micracantha, commenced to send up a flower stalk 
early in November, 1894. Daily measurements of growth 

* Transactions of St. Louis Academy, iii. 371. CoUected writings, 
314 to 320. 


were made. For twenty days after November 16th, this 
averaged two and three-fourths inches per day. After that r 
its average increase gradually lessened, and more of its ~ 
strength was used in the development of the flower buds. . 
Flowers began to open the first week in January, and the 
last ones opened the second week in February. The plant . 
matured an abundance of fruit before the middle of June 
and the leaves were then seen to be rapidly dying off. 

After the great expenditure of energy displayed in pro- 
ducing flowers and fruit, the vitality is usually exhausted. 
The plants generally send out suckers or offsets, and then 
quickly die and give place to the next generation. This, 
however, is not an invariable rule. The species bearing 
annual leaves^ may bloom annually, and Nicholson's Dic- 
tionary of Gardening states that A. Sartorii does. A 
plant of A. Ghiesbrechtii which bloomed in this garden 
three years ago, but which formed no fruit, still shows no 
signs of decay. A. Engelmanni, named and described by 
Dr. Trelease,* bloomed here in 1890, and lived until the 
summer of 1894. 

A plant here named A. heteracantha by Mr. Baker of 
Kew, was raised from seed sent to the Garden about 
seventeen years ago. This never suckers like our A. 
Lechuguilla, but is strongly caulescent. Its offsets or 
branches of the main stem crouch rather closely to the 
ground, giving a straggling effect to the whole. Many 
new buds are now starting also from the axils of older 
leaves. This plant bloomed here for the third time in 
January, 1892. It has a very healthy appearance and is 
now sending up flowering stalks from two of the side 

A correspondent of the Gardener's Chronicle f states in 
substance that mostly all of the forty-eight American Aloes 
that bloomed in the gardens of T. A. Dorrien Smith, Esq., 

* Third Annual Report, Missouri Botanical Garden, 1892^ 167, FI. 
55, 56. 

t June 1877, 820. 


Tresco Abbey, Isles of Scilly, in 1875, were still living in 
1877. One flowered in 1876. This had been damaged and 
had lost its central spike by being overgrown by a large 
Fuchsia. It afterwards threw up three small spikes from 
the axils of its lower leaves. 

Other cases* of lateral inflorescence are noted. Dr. 
Goeppert in Regel's Gartenflora,t describes some interesting 
ones. A large Agave ( in Botanical Garden of Lowen ) pro- 
duced a large terminal inflorescence, and in the following 
year five lateral ones, and finally in the third year an extra- 
ordinary number of flowering stems, some of them bearing 
only one flower. He further states that when the French 
landed in 1830 at Sidi Ferruh, they found the neighbor- 
hood of Algiers thickly studded with Agaves. In the sum- 
mer of 1831^ not one of these plants bloomed, and it having 
been determined to form a camp many of the soldiers 
amused themselves by beheading the Agaves. In 1832 all 
these multilated Agaves threw up flower spikes, and more 
than fifteen hundred were crowned with flowers at one time, 
affording a magnificent spectacle. When lateral flowering 
occurs, it often seems to be the result of ah injury to the 
central axis which sends its strength into a side bud, making 
it in its turn a teirminal bud. 

The propagation of fhe Agaves is easy and rapid. Seeds 
are produced in great quantities and, under favoring con- 
ditions, readily germinate. The cotyledon is long and 
narrow and bears the seed-coat at its apex until fully 
matured. (Plate 63, Figs. 2, 3, 4. ) 

Many species while quite young also produce an abun- 
dance of suckers or offsets which frequently form a circle of 
progeny around the parent plant. In the Death Valley 
Expedition, near Mountain Springs, in the lower part of the 
pinon belt, Charleston Mountains, Nevada, a ** tuft of A. 

* Lachanmey Bevue Hort. 1876^ 182;Gard. Ghron. May, 1876, 696; S. 
B. Parish, Erythaea, 1898, 44; Gard. Chron. 1888^ 870. 
t Vol. xzYii. 1878, 307. Gard. Chron., Jan., 1879, 50. 

56 mssousi botanical gabden. 

Utahensis* was seen with forty-two well developed heads 
besides many smaller ones growing from a single root." 

Dr. E. L. Greenef describes a remarkable case of abnor- 
mal flowering of A. applanata Parryi. ** The mature cen- 
tral and parental member of a cluster of plants on coming 
into flower, had commmiicated its florif erons energy to all 
its offspring, great and small, and there were eight or ten 
of them, each of which bore at the same time its scape of 

A number of species belonging to the Euagave section 
are viviparous. Young plants or bulbilli are produced on 
the branches of the scape in place of, or in connection 
with, the capsules. These give a queer appearance to the 
plant while they still remain attached. They eventually 
fall to the ground, take root, and grow into good plants. 

On page 53, a plant labeled A. horrida micracantha, 
which bloomed at the Garden last winter, was spoken of. 
A few weeks after the flowering had ceased and while the 
abundant fruit was being rapidly matured, quite a large 
number of bulbilli appeared just below the apex of the 
scape, at about the point where the flowers had ceased to 
form. A similar development has been observed else- 
where upon a plant of the Littaea section. t 

Thus protected and defended, thus prepared in so many 
ways to propagate their species, the Agaves are seen to be 
well fitted to sustain life in the desolate barren mountains 
and superheated valleys to which they have been assigned. 
Their vitality is most wonderful. Plants are frequently 
taken up by the roots and kept for months with no water 
or care of any kind, and afterwards on being planted, show 
good growth. 

Unfortunately, little is known in regard to the pollina- 
tion of these plants. Bees and flies are seen upon them. 
Though some flowers of the species in bloom here last 

♦ Contributions from the U. S. National Herbarium, iii. Nov. 29, 1893,' 

t Erythaea, 1893. i, 62. t Engelmann, Collected Writings, 808. 


winter were pollinated artificially, most of the others also 
matured their fruit, and showed that the pollen from upper 
flowers must have done its work upon the stigmas of the 
lower ones^ 

Why the flowering stems of some Agaves should attain 
so great a height is not easily explained. I am told by resi- 
dents of New Mexico that the red-polled sparrow and other 
birds are seen to visit the inflorescence of A. applanata 
Parryi. This species produces an enormous quantity of 
sweet nectar. If birds or high-flying insects assist in pol- 
lination, the task of finding the flowers would evidently be 
much facilitated by their commanding position. 

The height doubtless assists in disseminating the seeds 
to a greater distance than would otherwise be possible. As 
the capsules open from above, the swaying of the poles 
must cause the seeds to be caught by the air currents as 
they are dislodged; being thin and flat they may be carried 
to a considerable distance beyond /the circle of progeny 
formed by suckers, before reaching the ground. 

It is stated that certain Agaves are hybridized* in cultiva- 
tion. If this is readily accomplished, it can be inferred 
that similar instances may occur in a state of nature, and 
upon this basis, explanations may be made of some of the 
queer freaks and differences of form so often observed. 

I have been able to secure but slight information in re- 
gard to the enemies of the Agave. They are injured by 
an insect ( Scarabaeusf ) called Maax (pronounced maash) 
by the Mayas. This bores through the center of the plant 
and destroys the softer parts. In cultivation the natives 
hunt this insect daily with pointed sticks and fill up the 
holes with pebbles and soil. Domestic animals, especially 
cattle, hogs and goats, are very fond of these plants when 
young, and will even chew the mature leaves for their 
juice. J 

♦ Gard. Chron. April, 1877, 488. 

t Agric. Report. 1869, 257. Biley^ Insect Life, 1890 and 1891, 482. 

t Agric. Report, 1869. 


Previous to the heavy rains and floods in our South- 
western territory during the past summer very little rain 
had fallen for three years. The beds of most streams were 
perfectly dry and even the Rio Grande carried very little 
water. Scarcely a vestige of green vegetation was to be 
seen except in the cafions far up in the mountains. We 
saw the cattle lying upon the hills dead and dying. Those 
which survived had done so only through the most terrible 
straits. Many of them in their desperation were glad to 
feed upon even the older Agaves and the Cacti ; and I was 
told that it was no uncommon thing to find their tongues 
pierced through and through with a network of the terrible 


From time immemorial these plants have been utilized in 
various ways. The Aztecs showed their appreciation by 
reverencing ** Mescal " or the Agave, as one of their gods 
under the name of Quetzalcoatl.* 

The Aztecs, Mayas and other inhabitants of the country 
have made saddle-cloths, sacks, ropes and other articles 
from the fibers. The softer parts have afforded them 
important articles of food and drink and a soapy liquid for 
washing. The flowering stalks made handles for their 
lances, poles for fishing, and walls for their houses. Of 
the central shoott of the Mescal the Apaches made their 
fiddles (Captain Bourke unfortunately is not willing to in- 
dorse the music). The end-spine with attached filament 
served as needle and thread. When General Crook went in 
March, 1886, to treat with Geronimo, in the Chiricahuas, he 
found him and his Indian warriors in a rancheria whose 
buildings were constructed of Agave and Yucca stalks. t 

♦ " On the Border with Crook." Captain John Q. Bourke. 1891 . 10. 
t Captain John G. Bourke. Folk Foods of the Bio Grande VaUey and 
Northern Mexico, in American Folk Lore, April, 1895. 
X On the Border with Crook. Captain John G. Bourke. 476. 


Professor W. J. McGee, who has just visited the savage 
Siri tribe on Tiburon island in the Gulf of California, 
obtained from them necklaces made of pretty seeds strung 
on maguay fibers. Humboldt tells of a bridge at Quito, 
having a span of one hundred and thirty feet, made of 
ropes of Agave fiber four inches in diameter. It is said 
that Agave juice is mixed with wall-plaster and used as 
an insecticide to keep out the white ants which are so 
destructive in tropical countries. The spiny leaves of the 
Agave have caused it to be used very effectively as a hedge 
plant in the Mediterranean region. Its leaves are some- 
times cut in slices and used as fodder for cattle. Its 
flower-stem dried is used to make excellent razor strops * 
and scouring material. 

In A. Lechuguilla, the connective tissue, according to Dr. 
Havardt " constitutes about 40 per cent. of the green leaf; 
when dried it is a white or yellowish mucilaginous pow- 
der, which possesses remarkable cleansing properties, prin- 
cipally due to the presence of saponin. Its composition is 
very probably analogous to that of Yucca baccata. Rubbed 
with water, it foams and lathers, answering the purposes of 
good soap, without, owing to its freedom from alkali, its 
disadvantages. It imparts a smooth and satiny appear- 
ance to the skin, and is used successfully in removing 
stains from the most delicate fabrics. It tends rather to 
set than to displace colors, and articles likely to fade may 
be washed with it in safety. It is also an excellent wash 
for the scalp and hair, leaving the latter soft and glossy. 
If the powder could be compressed into small cakes or 
tablets, it would doubtless become an important article of 
trade.'* The A. Schottii of Southern Arizona is also ex- 
tensively used as an amole, or soap-producing plant. The 
Mexicans and Indians sell it in the towns for this purpose. 

Under favorable circumstances the A. Americana, or 

* Peter Henderson, Handbook of Plants. 1881. 
t Proceedings of National Museum. 1885. 518. 


Maguay, the species most generally known as the Century 
Plant, will bloom at ten years of age. At the time it is 
ready to send up its flowering stalk, a most remarkable 
upward flow of sap takes place to meet the new demands. 
The liquor, called ** agua de miel," or honey-water, is very 
sweet, and the Mexicans and Indians find it much to their 
taste. They cut out the central bud and leaves, and insert 
a long, cylindrical gourd to receive the liquor. Some 
plants produce an average of two gallons per day, and keep 
up the supply for months. 

Pulque, a universal drink in Mexico, is made by collect- 
ing considerable quantities of the ** miel " in vats made of 
rawhide, and causing it to ferment. This liquor, which at 
first was greenish or yellow, is now white and appears much 
like half-turned buttermilk. It has ^ strong yeasty odor. 
Though it is said to acquire a strong taste from its reser- 
voir, foreigners, as well as the Mexicans, acquire a taste for 
it, and it has become an article of commerce. It is said 
to be cool, refreshing, palatable and nutritious. The A. 
Mexicana is also used in the manufacture of pulque. Mr. 
Baker* states that the A. atrovirens is the species espe- 
cially used. I find the A. Americana most frequently 
mentioned. Mr. Dodget states that it is made from any 
species with a crown sufficiently large to form a receiving 
reservoir for the liquor as it exudes. 

From the pulque, by a process of distillation carried on 
in their pulquerias, the Mexicans manufacture a fiery and 
intoxicating liquor which they call ** aguardiente de mag- 
uay," ** mescal," or ** mescal tequile," to distinguish it 
from " mescal sotol," made more cheaply from Dasylirion. 
Both pulque and mescal are regularly peddled in the streets 
in receptacles made of pig-skins, which will hold from 
twenty to thirty gallons. They may always be obtained in 
the pulquerias or cantinas (saloons), where the walls are 

♦ Amaryllideae, 174. 

t Report of Sisal Hemp Culture. Fiber Investigations. 1891. 46. 


covered with highly-colored representations of the " Sacred 
Heart,*" ** the Good Shepherd," etc., to keep the mindfrom 
being inflamed with thoughts of strife and blood. A 
pinch of salt, or flavoring of orange or lemon peel, is 
usually taken with the mescal, to remove the fiery taste. 

Considered from the stand-point of food, certain species of 
Agaves growing in our Southwestern States and Territories 
are esteemed great delicacies by the Indians. These do not 
have so great a flow of sap as the Maguay plants and are 
further distinguished from them by having shorter and 
relatively broader leaves. Several species are used, but 
they are quite indiscriminately called ** Mescal," as is also 
the jelly-like mass prepared from them as well as the intoxi- 
cating liquor fermented and distilled from its juice. 

The species most eagerly sought after by the Apaches are 
A. Palmeri, and A. applanata Parryi. Mr. Covillet gives 
a very interesting account of the use of even the small A. 
Utahensis by the Panamint Indians. The process of cook- 
ing seems to be much the same in all cases. A large 
pit is prepared and lined carefully with small smooth stones. 
A fire is kept up within the pit until the stones are thor- 
oughly heated, and then raked out leaving the pit ready 
for use. The plants are trimmed until nothing is left ex- 
cept the hearts, which consist of the sweet juicy stalks 
and young leaves. These are heaped on the hot stones in 
the pit, covered over with grass and earth and left to steam 
for two or three days. By this time all except the fibrous 
tissue is reduced to a jelly-like mass, very palatable and 
nutritious. Captain BourkeJ states that the Apaches put 
in the pit a plug made of the stalk of the plant. This they 
pull out as a test, and if the end of the plug is cooked the 
squaws decide that the whole mass is. 

Dr. Parry writes in a letter to Dr. Engelmann, that this 

* Captain J. G. Bourke. Folk Foods of Bio Grande Valley and 
Northern Mexico. 

t Panamint Indians of California. American Anthropologist^ v. 1892, 
X On the Border with Crook, p. 200. 


cooked ^* Mescal " is much like half -made molasses candy 
into which oakum has been dipped. Professor Toumey 
writes that it has a sweet and not disagreeable taste, but 
that it has a smoky flavor arising from the method of 

By fermenting and distilling its juice the Indians make 
their drink called '* Mescal," which is very intoxicating, 
casting all records attributed to "Jersey lightning,'' most 
completely in the shade. Professor Toumey writes a very 
interesting letter in regard to finding a party of Pepago 
Indians in May, 1894, encamped in the Catalina mountains, 
fourteen miles north of Tucson, for the purpose of making 
** Mescal " from A. Palmeri. He says the camp had a rank 
odor from the fermentation of the cooked mescal thrown 
about on all sides. On taking the mescal from the pit, it 
was put into large Indian baskets, and the women squatted 
down on the ground and stripped the epidermis and as 
many of the fibro-vascular bundles as possible from the 
cooked leaves. The prepared material was then spread on 
the ground or on blankets to dry. Large quantities of 
mescal are made by the Indians each spring, and carried 
back with them to their reservations, where it forms an 
important factor in their food supply throughout the year. 

Dr. Havard* says that the mescal pits are still seen in 
the Guadalupe Mountains, Texas, and that "cooking 
develops a large proportion of grape sugar which exists 
in combination with citric acid as a citro-glucosid. It is set 
free by exposure to heat or by application of cold water." 
He also says that the young leaves yield by pressure a juice 
which ** is slightly acidulous, laxative and diuretic, there- 
fore a good antiscorbutic." 

Professor Toumey 's letter already referred to goes on to 
say that the epidermis and fibers, separated by the squaws 
from the edible portion of the mescal, are not thrown 
away, but are taken by the men, thoroughly washed and 

* Proceedings U. S. National Museum. 1885, viii. 519. 


cleansed, and the fibers well separated, so that they can 
be made into ropes. Each man takes a quantity of these 
fibers, and begins to twist. When the strands are of suffi- 
cient length, they are tied to trees, and the men backing 
away from the trees continue to add fibers and to twist. 
Their work is assisted by small sticks, about a foot long 
and larger and heavier at one end. By fastening the small 
end to the rope close to the hand, the twist made is given a 
greater force by the motion of the heavy end in flying 
round and round. When the ropes are of the required 
length, the loose ends are pegged to the ground and left for 
several days to dry. Professor Tourney writes that hun- 
dreds of these ropes were staked out in the camp that he 

Of the Agaves native to the United States, the A. Lech- 
uguilla produces the well-known Ixtli, or Tampico fiber, 
renowned for its great strength and durability. The fiber 
is coarse and short, but very tough. It is used in Texas 
and Northern Mexico for making sacks to convey ore from 
the mines, for coarse ropes, brushes, etc. In extracting 
the fiber, the spines and horny margins are removed, the 
leaves are crushed or scraped with knives by hand, and 
then after one or two days' exposure to the sun, the soft 
connective tissue is washed out, and the fibers collected. 
Machinery is now being employed in some places for 
obtaining this fiber. 

The patient and industrious Mayas early recognized the 
value of fibers for domestic purposes, and it can probably 
be proved that they made of fiber an article of export. 
From generation to generation the culture of the best fiber- 
producing species has been their chief industry, and it is 
to-day a never failing source of wealth to the peninsula of 
Yucatan. Their culture has developed several varieties. 
A. rigida elongata, called Sacci or Saqui, by the Indians, 
is their chief dependence. Its fiber is abundant, white and 

Dr. Perrine, when American Consul to Campeachy, 


strongly advocated* the introduction of tropical plants in 
Southern Florida. As a result of his patriotic and labori- 
ous efforts, a number of species were planted at Key West, 
and on thePerrine Grant, Biscayne Bay, in 1836, 1837, and 
succeeding years. The A. rigida sisalana, or Yaxci (pro- 
nounced Yaashki) has taken most kindly to its new home. 
It forms dense thickets in many places, and seems to have 
become fully naturalized below the frost line in Florida 
and the adjacent islands. There seems to be every reason 
for believing that the efforts now being made in Florida 
and the Bahamas in its cultivation, and in improving 
methods for the extraction of its fiber, may result in adding 
greatly to the wealth of both places. Its leaf produces 
less fiber than the Yucatan form, but it ** excels in fine- 
ness, softness, flexibility and luster." 


The genus Agave may be characterized as being acaules- 
cent or shortly caulescent, having leaves in a close rosulate 
tuft, with broad clasping bases, usually fleshy, and more or 
less rigid, traversed by strong, elastic, longitudinal fibers, 
and generally armed with terminal and lateral spines; 
scape bracteate^; inflorescence subspicate or paniculate; 
flowers articulated on short, persistent pedicels, bearing one 
or two bracts, usually brownish or greenish yellow, pro- 
terandrous ; perianth narrowly funnel-shaped to campanu- 
late, with six nearly equal oblong or linear segments; 
tube straight or somewhat curved; filaments filiform, 
folded in the bud, in the flower usually extending^ consid- 
erably beyond the segments ; anthers large, versatile, in- 
trorse; ovary oblong to cylindrical; septal glands large, 
and in many species secreting a remarkable quantity of 
nectar; style at last usually equaling or exceeding the 
stamens, filiform, slightly clavate, with three commissural 

* Senate Doctunent No. 800, March^ 1838. Dr. Schott, Agricaltiual 
Report. 1869. 257. 


stigmas, which slightly open or broadly expand at maturity ; 
fruit a dry, erect, globose to cylindrical capsule, loculicid- 
ally three-celled, having two rows of numerous, thin, black 
seeds in each cell, and generally opening in upper part 
only; embryo filiform. 

The inferior ovary* gives the strongest reason for class- 
ing this genus with the Amaryllidaceae. Its capsules, 
numerous discoid seeds, and elongated cotyledons show 
affinities with Liliaceae. Within the Amaryllidaceae, it is 
closely allied to Furcraeae. 

The best basis for a classification of the Agaves lies in 
the fundamental differences in the forms of inflorescence, 
accompanied, as they are, by group differences in the struct- 
ure and forms of the leaves. The sections recognized by 
Dr. Engelmann, — SinguUflorae^ Gfeminiflorae^ Panicu-- 
lataCj may be very technically described as having flowers 
usually subspicate and solitary ; flowers usually subspicate, 
in pairs ; and flowers paniculate. As these are subgeneric 

* Leichtlinia protuberans Boss, A. protuberans Engelm., has been 
placed between the genera Polianthes and Agave, on account of its coni- 
cal ovary protruding into the perianth. 

On July 29th, I collected a monstrous inflorescence of A. applanata 
Parryi, in the mountains above Pleasant Valley, a few miles from Fort 
Bayard. The top of the scape had been broken by some accident, and 
the plant had made an effort to produce flowers on a low branch of the 
inflorescence. These flowers were in a thick mass close to the main 
axis. All were imperfect or distorted. Some were grown together. 
The segments in nearly aU cases were greatly broadened and frequently 
thickened. The fllaments also were broad and in some cases showed a 
distinct reversion to the petaloid character. In some flowers it was 
difficult to tell whether a certain organ represented a segment or a fila- 
ment, but in the larger and better developed flowers, there was usually 
an equal number of each, and this number varied from six to flve, four, 
three, and even two. In one large flower the style was irregularly f our- 
lobed, and the stigma, three-lobed, one lobe being much larger than the 
other two. The ovary was usually represented by a short thick mass of 
tissue with little or no differentiation. Mr. Webber writes me of flnding 
a monstrous Agave flower upon a plant of what I suppose was A. rigida 
sisalana. This flower had stamens and pistils perfectly developed, but 
was without any ovary differentiation, and was found growing from a 
cluster of leaves of the bulb. 


distinctions, however, perhaps it is well to make use of the 
substantive names used by Mr. Baker for these divisions, — 
MAmrREDA (Salisb.)) Liftaea (Tagl.)>£2n agave (Baker), 
and also to use the terms employed by him to designate 
the groups formed on leaf characters, though so far as they 
apply to our United States species, I cannot follow him 
strictly in their application. 

It must constantly be borne in mind that the variability 
of species within the genus is so great that any attempt 
to draw precise lines in classification results in failure. 
A. Lechuguilla has been found with flowers in clusters* of 
from three to ten instead of in pairs. Both with reference 
to leaf and floral characters, A. Utahensis might almost 
as well be grouped with Euagave us with Littaea. Some 
six or eight plants of A. brunnea Watson, of the Manfreda 
section, bloomed at the Garden last June. Most of these 
plants bore single flowers in the axils of their bracts. One 
plant of a vigorous growth, showed at two points a second 
flower in the axil of the lateral bractlet. One of these was 
sessile and the other pedicellate, as shown in plate 63, 
figs. 8, 9. Dr. Engelraann notes a case t in which a plant 
of A. Virginica produced secondary flowers year after 
year. In his plant a third flower sometimes appeared. In 
leaf characters many instances could be cited of departure 
from the normal form. A. parviflora of the group Pilif erae 
has been considered unique in bearing teeth as well as fila- 
ments, but the Garden has recently received a specimen of 
A. Schottii from Professor Toumey which shows the same 

I subjoin the general schemes of classification adopted 
by Terraciano and Baker. 

* Dr. Engelmann, Gard. Chron. Jan., 1888, 48.— A. heteracantha, 

t CoUected WritingB, 80S. 



Conspectus sectionnm ac subsectlonum. 


I. Aplagave, Terr. 

A) Singnliflorae, Engelm. 

a) Herbaceae, Terr. 

b) Splcatae, Terr. 

c) Canaliculatae, Terr. 
B; Geminifloraey Engelm. 

d) Emarginatae^ Terr. 

1. Yuccaefollae, Baker. 
I. - 2. Stxiatae, Terr. 
8. Fililerae, Baker. 

' 4. Attenuatae, Baker. 
II. . 5. Aloideae, Terr. 

6. Aculeatae, Terr. 

e) Marginatae, Baker. 

II. Cladagave, Terr. 

C) Paniculiflorae, Terr. 

f) Americauae, Terr. 

7. Integrifoliae, Baker. 

8. Americanae, Baker. 

9. Rigldae, Terr. 
10. Viviparae, Baker. 

g) Submarginatae, Baker. 


Llttaea (Tagl.). J^h i^ >^^^ , tU <i£^M^ C4^ W<£^^i«^^v^^^• fi-i>C5: **^if#g. . 
Manfreda(Sallsb.).^fv4^^^i^'vic^ sivv*--^, (^L> , 5 -l^ p » e^ciJ riLJ*44^ 

Key to Series and Groups founded on the shape, size and texture of the 
leaves:— ^ 

Series I. Coriaceo-c 


8. Submarginatae. tWlUJU*^ CrltUJi U\iu/(J^^Y«^ ^ . 

4. Americanae.^ (jLA^AA^CHrndj-AO^J^^I^ . T<^n,ia^UU.nAj^^j^ 

5. Rlgidae. S'a^ Cn^^ HuC^IMjUC ^)i^ U^ V^^^-fS^^ 

6. Striatae.ikdtP?€fi-yL %(AiujJjSL UJVu/^^;Sf»^p0^ ^^^vcjT^j /, 

7. Integrlfoliae.J^^^ vISP,5U^-<^ ^ ^^M^ "^^^^ 

riSSOUBI BOTANICAL GARDEIk /» ' '^ /^J^--^ -^ r, 

temlnlflorae. J Aj, 'jiftf^r 'W.'^ ♦uX*^-** ' 

11. AttenuatM. $*Ce* v«,tUU .^ /x» -/- yftTTT- *-<r 

series in. FlexUes. ^fbjiJMajJ'. ''-^^.JJ^^^^SS, y^^^^^^i^ 
Group 12. Viylp««,:^,4T^.Ji1^Vt^ ^^^^ ^— •*— 

Series II. Camoso-C( 

Groups. Oeminiflorae, 
9. Aloideae, 

Group 12. Vivlpanu..j;7;£2r83:H ^ " /7 ^- 

18. Ynccaefollae. jS^i:^;;:^^ 4^nA.^ 

Series IV. HerbaceaeY^ ^ ^M^^fjiJlm \ Ars #£^ U^ Aovki. a^»44A«-**CU y 


• Acanlescent; perennial, from stent, evident, sometimes elongated root- 
stocks; roots fleshy; leaves loosely spreading or ascending, soft, 
thin, annnal, without homy spines; flowers normally subspicate and 
solitary; stlgmatic lobes spreading. — Manfrbda (Salisb.). Rerha'^ 
cea« (Baker); /9iiH;ru2^ora« (Engelm.). 

^ Stamens inserted near base of tube; leaves usually green. 

A. ViRGiNiCA L. — Leaves six to fifteen, green, sometimes 
marked with purple striae, very rarely spotted, 15 to 45 cm. 
long, 2 to 5 cm. wide, lanceolate to oblong or spatulate, con- 
cave, a little flexuous ; apex ending in a sharply narrowed 
herbaceous point ; margin irregularly and obscurely serrate ; 
scape slender, 9 to 18 dm. long, upper 3 to 5 dm. or more 
florif erous ; lowest bracts almost as long as the leaves, upper 
ones much narrower and shorter; flowers shortly pedi- 
celled, greenish or brownish yellow, very fragrant, 25 to 37 
mm. long; ovary oblong; tube narrowly funnel-shaped; 
segments linear-oblong, 10 to 12 mm. long ; filaments 
much thickened upwards, and extending 20 to 25 mm. be- 
yond segments; anthers 12 mm. long; capsule globose, 15 
to 20 mm. long, including short stipe and beak, and 
nearly as wide; seeds 4 to 6 mm. in longest diam- 
eter.— Sp. PI. (1753) 323; Jacobi, Monogr. (1864) 
174; Engelm. Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. (1875) 301, 
Collected Writings, 306 ; Terr. Monogr. (1885) 13 ; Baker, 
Handbook of the Amaryllideae, (1888) 197. — Icones: 
Bot. Mag. ser. 1, xxix. pi. 1157; Jacquin, Icones Plant- 


arum, ii. pi. 378; Lamarck, Encyclop, Method, i. pL 235, 
fig. 2. — Maryland southward to Florida, westward to 
Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri tad Texas. Mr. Nealley 
reports it as abundant around Corpus Christi, Texas. — 
Plates 26 and 27. 

Var. TiGRiNA Engelm. — Stout, with large purple-spotted 
leaves, and depressed globose capsules. — Trans. St. 
Louis Acad. iii. 302, Collected Writings, 306.— BlufEton, 
South Carolina, Dr. Mellichamp. In one spot only, — a 
tongue of partly brackish land, extending out into the salt 
mud and m,arsh under dwarfed live oaks, cassine and saw 
palmetto, on the decayed shells mixed with sand and earth 
of what appears to be an Indian oyster-heap.* This form, 
discovered by Dr. Mellichamp twenty years ago, still per- 
sists in the locality indicated. Plants sent to the Garden 
by Dr. Mellichamp early last spring began to send up new 
leaves very soon. These were green at first but began to 
develop purple spots in May. Plate 63, Fig. 1, shows the 
plant in its early growth. 

Dr. Engelmannf mentions a plant which year after year 
produced second and sometimes third flowers on the pedi- 
cels. In the Engelmann and Gray herbaria there are spec- 
imens of a monstrous form sent by Dr. Short from the 
bank of Kentucky River near Elk Lick in 1831, 1833, and 
1834. These plants have very large broad leaves; their 
flowers are thick and enlarged, with nearly cylindrical 
tubes, and their enlarged filaments cohere slightly by the 
edges, giving the effect of another much elongated tube. 
Flowers collected by Mr. Bush in Shannon County, Mis- 
souri, have filaments bent forward and even a little twisted 
at base. 

The fragrance of the flowers is very persistent and was 
observed by Miss Johnson while making the plate from 

* Dr. MeUichamp^ in letter to Dr. Engelmann, Jan. 22d, 1876. 
t Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. 296. Coll. Writings, 808. 


herbarium material. The name Rattlesnake Master is 
applied to this plant. 

^ <»- Stamens inserted in upper part of tube; leaves usnally spotted; 

•M- Stigmatic lobes rounded. 

A. YABiEOATA Jacobi. — Leaves lanceolate, green, spotted 
with brown ; teeth obscure but sharper than those of A. 
Virginica, and turned upwards ; scape 9 to 15 dm. long, 
laxly flowered; flowers 38 mm. long; lobes about equal 
to tube ; stamens inserted at two-thirds or three-fourths of 
the distance up the tube, 5 cm. long; anthers 8 mm. long; 
capsule oblong-cuspidate, 15 to 22 mm. long; seeds 
oblique. — Monogr. (1864) 180; Engelm. Trans. St. Louis 
Acad. iii. 303, Collected Writings, 306. — Lower Rio 
Grande, near Mier and Metamoras, Dr. J. Gregg, May^ 
•M> *-¥ Stigmatic lobes emarginate. 

A. MAGULATA Kegel? — Leaves fleshy, recurved, concave or 
channeled throughout their entire length, 15 to 30 cm. 
long, 10 to 20 mm. wide, narrowly lanceolate, tapering to 
apex, light green, glaucous, mostly spotted with dark 
green or brown ; margin usually transparent, with evident, 
irregular, small cartilaginous teeth; scape 9 to 20 dm. 
high, the upper 2 or 3 dm. floriferous; bracts ovate to 
linear-lanceolate at base of scape, and more or less den- 
ticulate, the upper ones gradually reduced, entire ; flowers 
nearly sessile, purplish-green to white, fragrant, 30 to 50 
mm. long; segments suberect and mostly nearly as long 
as the stamens, or less commonly widely recurving, ob- 
long, 10 to 18 mm. long, 5 mm. wide; filaments inserted 
at base of lobes ; anthers 8 to 16 mm. long ; stigma vel- 
vety at tip; capsule 20 to 25 mm. long, including stipe 
and beak, a little longer than broad, its walls thicker 
than in A. Virginica. — Ind. Sem. Hort. Petrop. 1856, 16, 
Annot. Bot., Ann. des Sci. Nat. vii. ( 1856) 74, Gartenflora, 


1857, 158; Baker, Amaryllideae, 196; Terr. Monogr. 11; 
Engelm.-Bot. Mex. Bound. (1858), 214. A. maculosa 
Engelm. Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. ^01, Coll. Writings, 
305. — Icones: Hook. Bot. Mag. ser. 3, xv. pi. 5122; 
Fenzi, Gard. Chron. 1872, 1194, fig. 273. — Southern 
Texas.— Plate 28. 

Represented by two forms, of like distribution, of which 
the more common has the perianth tube longer than the 
suberect segments which nearly conceal the anthers; the 
bracts are elongated, and the leaves long, robust and 
slightly denticulate. The other form, which is the variety 
breviiuba of Engelmann, Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. ( 1875 ) 
301, Coll. Writings, 305, has the tube about equal to the 
segments, which are frequently recurved. This exposes 
the longer anthers and filaments. The bracts are broader 
and shorter, and the leaves are short and narrow. 

This is an exceedingly variable species. I have placed 
in it all specimens of the Manfreda group in Southern 
Texas which have emarginate lobes to the stigma. I have 
followed Baker in employing for it Begel's nanxe, although 
the emargination of the stigma is not mentioned in the 
original description of A. maculata. The filaments are 
there described as being long-exserted, and the species is 
said by Begel to be related to A. rubescens, Salm-Dyck. 
In the figure of Hooker cited, the emargination of the 
stigmatic lobes is scarcely more than suggested, but in that 
of Fenzi, it corresponds well with the typical form of our 
species. I find a specimen in the Gray herbarium, collected 
by Dr. Palmer, with narrow strongly denticulate leaves ; 
flowers 35 mm. long, segments 10 to 12 mm. long, and 
filaments 15 to 25 mm. long. These filaments protrude 
beyond the segments. The stigmatic lobes are emarginate 
in some of the flowers. It is possible that collectors will 
find Regel's plant, and perhaps transitions between the two, 
in Northern Mexico. Perhaps our plant may prove to be a 
variety of the other. 

Specimens examined: — Mier, amongst Mezquit trees. 


Dr. Wislizenus, No. 373, May 31, 1847; Cultivated at 
Mftsouri Botanical Garden, July, 1861 ; July, 1879 ; Otto 
Ludwig, San Antonio, 1877 ; Dr. V. Havard, Eagle Pass, 
1883; Albert Turpe, 1893; A. A. Heller, June, 1894, Cor- 
pus Christi; Dr. Schott, Rio Bravo del Norte, Lizard 
Hills, April, 1854, somewhat intermediate in form. — Var. 
brevituba: — Wright, No. 1905, below El Paso; G. C. 
Nealley, 1887, 1895 ; with prptruding filaments. Dr. Edward 
Palmer, 105 miles southeast of San Antonio, September, 
1879, No. 1306. 

Dr. Schott in a note, April, 1854, states that the leaves 
of A. maculata are recommended by the Mexicans as an effi- 
cient remedy against the bites of rattlesnakes. Mr. A. A. 
Heller makes a very similar statement. 

* ♦ Acanlescent; perennial, from scarcely ^istingaishable rootstock; 
roots fibrous, fieshy; leaves ascending, tamed to one side, 
relatively narrow, thick, fleshy, fibroas, persistent; end-spine 
homy; flowers normally in pairs, forming a dense subspicate 
inflorescence.— LiTTABA(Tagl.). Qeminiflorae (Bngelm.). 

4- Leaf with a flliferous margin; marked with white lines made by 
delicate layers of epidermis left by margins of adjoining leaves in 
separating from the bud. — Filiferae (Baker). 

•M- Marginal flbers delicate. 

A. ScHOTTii Engelm. — Leaves 15 to 35 cm. long, 6 to 

12 mm. broad, convex on lower side ; end-spine 6 to 10 

mm. long, slender, terete, brownish-gray ; margin of base 

vA; .^ membranous, sometimes (in 'variety) serrulate; scape 15 

^^^^tf^ly^ to 20 dm. high; bracts very slender; flowers pale yellow 

J:^e^%^^ with agreeable fragrance; 30 to 40mm. long; perianth in- 

(f^^ f undibular ; lobes linear to oblong, or short and broad ; 

filaments inserted a little above the middle of the tube ; 

anthers 7 to 12 mm. long; ovary broad; capsules nearly 

globular or oblong, 10 to 15 or 25 mm. long, including 

stipe. — Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. 305, Collected Writings, 

307; Baker, Handbook of the Amaryllideae,.166. A. 

geminijlora var. Sonorae Torrey, Bot. of the Boundary 

(1858), 214. A. geminijlora \2X.fiUfera Terr. Monogr. 






18.. — Very abundant on the mountains of Southern Arizona, 
from the Santa Catalina to the Chuncahus at an elevation 
of about 5,000 feet. — Plate 29. y^ ' ^p^ 

Specimens examined: — Dr. A. Schott's original spmr 
mens from Sierra del pajarito, VII., 1855; No. 1433 of 
Emory's Expedition, 1873; J. G. Lemmon and wife, 
April and May, 1880 and 1881 ; C. G. Pringle, Southern 
Mountains, 1881; Eincon Mountains, June, 1884; Santa 
Catalina Mountains, 1882; J. W. Toumey, Santa Catalina 
and Rincon Mountains, 1894. 

Var. SEBRULATA. — Of distinctly smaller habit; Irirnn ^ "H *j^ ^"^ 
narrower and shorter ; leaf bases narrower, serrulate and ± y\jL^XJ^^ 
slightly undulate ; end-spine shorter ; inflorescence more ^" ' ( ^ z ^ 
compact ; perianth apparently broader at base ; lobes very 
short and broad; anthers much smaller; filaments inserted 
at a greater distance below segments, longer ; lobes of 
stigma fringed; capsules smaller, thinner, more persist- 4.t- Ani- 
ent. — Collected in the Rincon Mountains, July, 1894, by f^^ ^^.^^^.^.j.^^^ t 
Professor J. W. Toumey, of the University of Arizona, \h^' ftlr 

who states that he finds it to occur further south than the **^ 

typical form. — Plate 29. 

A specimen of A. Schottii collected by Mr. Pringle on 
** dry, rocky slopes of Southern Mountains," 1880, has cap- • 
snles with much elongated beaks . Another specimen of Mr. 
Pringle's from the Rincon Mountains, June 19th, 1884, has 
groups of three and four flowers in the axils of the bracts. 

Professor Tourmey writes that this species so thickly 
covers large areas miles in extent on the southern slope of 
the Santa Catalina Mountains that it is almost impossible 
to travel over it. The variety is not found in this locality. 
This plant is the amole of Arizona, and is sold by Mexicans 
and Indians in the streets of Tucson (Professor Toumey). 
•M- 4-» Marginal fibers short and stout. 

A. PAEVIFLORA Torrcy. — Plants very small, forming 
low rosettes; leaves thick, 5 to 10 cm. long, 1 cm. wide. 


linear-lanceolate from a broad, deltoid base; end-spine 

slender, terete ; marginal fibers few ; base of leaf bordered 

with minute, cartilaginous teeth ; scape 12 to 15 dm. high, 

slender ; bracts very narrow with a broad base ; flowers in 

twos or fours, small, 12 mm. long; perianth 8 mm. long; 

filaments inserted in lower part of tube, a little longer than 

perianth ; capsule globular or ovoid, more or less cuspidate, 

9 to 12 mm. long, 9 to 10 mm. broad; seeds dull, 2.5 mm. 

wide. Professor Toumey found well-developed seeds on 

August 20th. — Botany of Mexican Boundary (1858), 214; 

Engelm. Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. 306, Collected Writ- 

. ings, 307; Terr. Monogr. 18; Baker, Amaryllideae, 166. 

/ Dr. Trelease in Fifth Report of the Garden, page 164, 

^\vlc>wv^^x^^^ 1 gpgj^^g Qf ^jjQ rediscovery of this interesting plant by 

/Professor Toumey in the Pinal Mountains, and makes 

^critical notes in comparison. His plate is reproduced for 

this paper by his permission. — Mountains of Arizona, at 

head waters of the Salt and Gila Bivers, in the Pinal 

Mountains, at an elevation of about 7,000 feet (Professor 

J. W. Toumey), and near Chihuahua, Mexico. — Plate 30. 

Specimens examined: — Original Schott specijnens in 

I Engelmann, Torrey and National herbaria, fro m Si erras of 

\^ dv Pimeria alta, Arizona, July, 1855; J. W. Toumey, July, 

^^^^^^^^^^^ 1893; also specimeTosln Engelmann, Gray and Columbia 

^^^^^(^* ^ College herbaria from **dry, porphjnritic hills," near 

l^f'^ ^j^ Chihuahua, found by Mr. C. G. Pringle in fruit, Septem- 

^\P^^ 'J^^ ber 6, 1888. These Mexican specimens have longer and 

wA slightly narrower leaves, but agreeing with the Toumey 

specimen in being concave on the upper side. Their 

flowers are much longer than those from Arizona. The 

capsules are conically pointed above, and their globular 

form is similar to that of the Schott specimens. 

Professor Toumey writes that A. parviflora propagates 
profusely by numerous suckers. Seeds from his capsules 
have developed into plants 5 cm. high, and from 8 to 10 cm. 
in diameter. Their pretty little rosettes bear dark green 
leaves with reddish-brown end-spines. After loosening 


from the central bud, an extremely delicate white margin 
soon fluffs away, and the new epidermis below bears tiny 
little teeth from apex to base. A further development 
results in the formation of marginal threads on the upper 
portion of leaf, which eventually split off, while the teeth 
persist on the thin membranous margin of the base, 

•t- -*- Leaf with a continuous, toothed, horny margin from apex to 
base. — Margin AT AB (Baker). 

A. Lechuguella Torrey. — Leaves about 10 to 15, 
thick, concave above, rounded below, usually 20 to 35 cm. 
long, 2 to 3.5 cm. wide, others much larger, 5 cm. wide ' 
and sometimes 60 cm. long, narrowed above a very broad 
base, and after widening slightly, maintaining nearly 
parallel edges for some distance, and gradually tapering 
above, deep green with many interrupted darker lines on 
lower side, and less distinct ones on upper side when 
young; end-spine channeled, 18 to 40mm. long, extending 
downwards to a point on the back of leaf; margin rather 
broad ; teieth commencing at a considerable distance below JL I ^ 
apex, largest towards middle of leaf, 5 to 10 mm. long, /. ,,//oiM/rt^ 
rather distant, stout, usually strongly reflexed, sometimes ^^^^^ jE.1 '^^^ 
flexuous; color of end-spine, margin and prickles, brown, ^jjt<^ '^^ 
soon turning to gray; margin and prickles at last splitting ^ '^ (^**^'*''^^JL 
off, and falling away in pieces or entirely, but usually leav- ^^i^y^^^'^^^^^ 
ing a part attached to end-spine ; scape slender, 18 to 40 
dm. high; bracts 50 mm. long below, 10 to 12 mm. above, 
deciduous ; flowers sometimes in clusters of three to sev- 
eral, and variable in size, (fresh) from 30 to 40 mm. long 
above base of ovary; perianth spreading, campanulate, 
greenish or yellowish white, sometimes deeply tinged 
partly or completely with purple ; tube 2 to 3 mm., lobes 15 
to 18 mm. long; filaments purple, inserted at base of lobes, 
35 mm. long; anthers 13 to 16 mm. long; style slightly 
shorter than filaments ; capsules ovoid or oblong, 15 to 35 
mm. long; seeds smooth, shining, 3 to 4 mm. in longest 
diameter. — Bot. of the Boundary (1858), 213. A. heter- 



acantha Zucc. Acta Acad. Leop.-Carol. xvi. 675; Engelm. 
Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. 306, Collected Writings, 308 ; 
Baker, Amaryllideae, 168. A. PoselgeHi Terr. Monogr. 
32. — Abundant on the limestone highlands of West Texas, 
and along the Rio Grande, as far east as Presidio, extending 
into Mexico and New Mexico. Mr. Nealley reports the 
Devil's river as the eastern limit. — Plate 31. — By error, 
the specific name was originally printed LecheguiUa. 

Specimens examined: — From Mr. C. Wright, Nos. 1907 
(1851), 682,(1849), 1432 (1852), Mexican Boundary 
^5«rvey7 DtTe. Palmer, 1878; O. Meusebach, Jan., 1880;. 
Dr. V. Havard, June and Sept., 1880, 1881, Guadalupe 
Mts., El Paso, and Presidio; J. G. Lemmon, Organ Mts., 
May 18, 1851; G. R. Vasey, El Paso, 1880, 1881; Shaw's 
Garden, July, 1884; W. A. Evans, El Paso, June, 1891; 
Lieut. Emory's Second Mex. Bound. Survey, 213. 

The flowers I observed in Texas did not open their an- 
thers upon first expanding. The anthers were of a salmon 
tint which marked a contrast with the lower ones a day 
older, which showed a bright yellow coloring, caused by 
the dehiscence of the cells, and discharge of the pollen. 
I saw many plants in Texas showing a tendency towards 
a paniculate inflorescence, and Dr. Engelmann in Gard. 
Chron. June, 1883, gives a special description of specimens 
collected by Dr. Havard. A figure is given showing a 
cluster of ten capsules. 

A pest of the arid mesas and limestone cliffs of West 
Texas. The parenchyma of leaves and root furnish large 
quantities of amole valuable for cleansing purposes.* Its 
fiber, called Tampico, Ixtle, or Ystle, is very valuablef 
where strength and durability are required. 

Though this plant certainly shows affinities with A. 
heteracantha Zucc. and A. Poselgerii Salm-Dyck, it differs 
from them in having a more stiffly sub-erect and one-sided 

* Dr. Havard. Proceedings of U. S. National Museum, 1885, 518. 
Page 59 of this paper. 

t Dr. Parry, Bot. of Bound. 11; Dr. Havard, 1. c; Kew BuU. Dec, 

1887. Pn^re ♦l^ of this paper. 



habit and in never developing a broad pale band down the 
face of the leaf. The group to which all these and a 
number of related forms belong, should receive careful 
study and comparison . Our plant may prove to be a variety . 

<»-4>-i>Iieaf with a toothed, homy margin, decurrent for some dis- 
tance below end-spine. — Submarginatae (Baker). 

A. Utahensis Engelm. — Suberect, compact; leaves r f 

linear-lanceolate, concave, rigid, fleshy, glaucous, 12 to 17 
cm. long, 2 to 2.5 cm. wide, or larger, not contracted above * 

the broad base; terminal spine 20 to 35/cmMong, stout, 
channeled, gray, with brown base, slightly decurrent; 
margin sometimes repand; prickles 1.5 to 2 mm. long, 
deltoid above, very minute and close-set below ; scape 15 
to 24 dm. high, straight or flexuous; upper 3 to 6 dm. 
floriferous; panicle narrow ; bracts very slender; pedicels 
once or twice forked; flowers in 2's or 4's, sometimes in 
6's, 22 to 25 mm. long, yellow, with a very pungent and 
fragrant odor ; perianth about as long as ovary, lobes cut 
nearly to its base; filaments inserted a little below the 
middle of the broadly funnel-shaped tube, 15 to 18 mm. 
long; capsules ovoid, cuspidate, 2 to 3 cm. long above the 
stipei, which measures about 4 mm. ; seeds 4 mm. in great- 
est diameter, marked with flat punctate areoles. — Serene 
Watson's Botany of 40th Parallel (1871), 497; Trans. St. 
Louis Acad. iii. 308, Collected Writings, 308; Baker, 
Amaryllideae, 177. A. Haynaldi Tod. var. Utahensis 
Terr. Monogr. 28. — Figured in ** Garden and Forest,'* 
1895, 385. — Along Virgen River in Beaver Dam Mts., 
Utah, as far north as Silver Reef, 4,000 to 6,000 ft. 
altitude; Northern Arizona, south of the Eaibab plateau, 
west to Ivanpah and Resting Springs, California, and east 
to Charleston Mts., Nevada. Abundant throughout North- 
ern Arizona on the Colorado plateau, the rocks in the 
Grand Canon being covered with the plants. — Plate 32. \/\ X^ k-c 

Specimens examined: — Utah; Dr. Palmer, St. George, •^ | ' w 
1870, one with leaves very repand, 1877. Arizona; 


Bischoff, 1871; Thompson, 1872; Mrs. A. P. Thompson, 
Kanab, 1872 ; J. G. Lemmon, Peach Springs, June, 1884, 
flowers in 6's with rudiments of two more ; H. H. Busby, 
Peach Springs, 1883, scape flexuous at nodes ; J. W. Tou- 
rney, Grand Cafion, 1894, Nevada; Coville and Funston, 
Charleston Mts., March 6, 1891. California; Plant cul- 
tivated by S. B. Parish, San Bernardino, from seed 
obtained at Ivanpah, Cal. The leaves from this plant are 
very short, and have teeth set on a very prominent fleshy 
base, end-spines are much elongated, one measuring 5.5 
cm. A very dwarf specimen, smaller than A. parviflora, U^ 1 . 
in the Engelmann herbarium. It was collected by Drz i )^ 
Palmer, at St. George, Utah, May, 1877. Its leaves are k ^ 
very narrow, and much turned to one side, 4 to 6 cm> 
long; scape very slender, with small, narrow bracts. la 
the same herbarium are a few thick leaves, labeled Palmer,' 
1877, 12 to 36 cm. long, slightly one-sided, contracted to 
a narrow base, acuminate at apex, with brown end-spines'. 
4 cm. long. 

A. Utahensis is the most northern species of Agave, ex- 
cepting A. Virginica, one of the Manfreda section. It was 
recommended in England as perfectly hardy, but Mr. J. 
Wood states that he has not found it so.* It is the Mescal 
plant of the Piutes and Panamint Indians. 

Here, in my judgment, should be placed A. Newberryi 
Engelm. The only specimens in our herbaria are small 
fragments of an inflorescence, and a single leaf in the her- 
baria of the United States Department of Agriculture, and 
in the Engelmann collection. The leaf is very narrow and 
probably had an entire margin, but I observe a few breaks 
in the epidermis where possibly short teeth may have 
separated. t The end spine is broken off; the pedicels are 
long, and suggest branching and a paniculate inflorescence, 
but I strongly suspect the plant to be a monstrous form of 
A. Utahensis, which species so frequently approaches the 

♦ The Garden, xxxiii. 310. 

t Sngelm. Trans. St. Louis Acad. ill. 309, Collected Writings, 309. 

k w 


Wt18>***^ i^ ' 

paniculate character, that it might be placed in the Euagave 

section with almost as great propriety as in that of Littaea. 

The flowers seem identical with those of A, Utahensis. *^. 

subjoin a description, that the plant may be looked for. "TXccat^^ 5 

A. jyetofterryl Engelm. — Leaves rigid, ensiform, abo;at 20 cm. long, 2 
cm. wide; end-spine dark-colored, 12 mm. long, grooved (Engelm.) ; mar- 
gin probably entire; scape 24 dm. high, with lanceolat^ bracts 12 mm. 
long, and a loose elongated sab-panicnlate inflorescence; contraeted 
branches 8 inm. apart, 12 mm. long; perianth nearly equal\p ovary /tnh 
"' " *■ " <irinnrfnH n ofi r the base of tnbe^ short. —.1. <:. . 


LV« utahensis var« nevadenais 2iigeltt# in g^C 

herb} ves, 

Ivanpaht M ohave DesertfCalifornia (t*l»i ient, 


Afave scaphoidea Greenman ancT Roush *®**>» 
• St •George, Utah (t«l#) 

» Leaves very thick, fleshy, spreading. California. 


.'^^ K-- 

r. r> t* 

A. DESEBTi Engelm. — Leaves densely clustered, upper 
ones ascending, lower ones spreading, narrowed at a consid- 
erable distance above the base, broadest above the middle, 
and slenderly acuminate at apex, 30 to 50 cm. long, 5.5 
to 6.5 cm. wide; end-spine 3 to 4 cm. long, slender, chan- 
neled, grayish with brown tip, very shortly decurrent; 
teeth stout, gray, 12 to 20 mm. apart, 3 to 4 mm. long, 
lanceolate-deltoid and recurved above, and minute, close- 
set, and turned upward below; scape 12 to 30 or even 60 
dm. high; bracts close-set below, large, triangular, acumi- 
nate, clasping, appressed, dentate, and terminating in a 
slender black spine 12 to 18 mm. long; branches trans- 
versely flattened; flowers 50 to 55 mm. long; perianth 
yellow, about same length as ovary; segments oblong; 
filaments inserted at base of segments, and twice their 


length; capsules oblong, 35 mm. long, shortly stipitate, 
cuspidate. Nectar abundant, descending in a shower when 
scape is shaken (Parish). — Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. 310, 
Collected Writings, 309; Terr. Monogr. 49; Baker, 
Amaryllideae, 178. — From Palm Springs, California, along 
the eastern slope of the San Jacinto Mountains into Lower 
California, at altitudes of from 2,500 to 3,000 feet. — ^Plates 
33 and 34. 

Specimens examined: — From Emory's Expedition, Nov. 
29th, 1846. Torrey Herb.; Dr. Palmer, East of San 
Felipe, 1875; Geo. N. Hitchcock, East of San Felipe, 
1875 ; G. R. Vasey, Mountain Springs, 1880; S. B. Parish, 
Mountain Springs, 1880; Parish Brothers, San Felipe, 

Very abundant where found. Miss Johnson has drawn 
the plate figured, from the original sketch made by Mr. 
Stanley on the Emory Expedition, Nov. 29th, 1846. The 
sketch is deposited in the Torrey Herbarium, Columbia 
College, and was kindly loaned by Dr. Britton, who also 
gives permission to have it reproduced here. 

Lieut. Emory writes* on his discovery of this plant, Nov. 
29, 1846: — ** We rode for miles through thickets of the 
centennial plant, and found one in full bloom. The sharp 
thorns terminating every leaf, were a great annoyance to 
our dismounted and weary men, whose legs were now almost 
bare. A number of these plants were cut by the soldiers, 
and the body of them used for food." 

SB = Leaves closely imbricated, and somewhat appressed; matare plant 
nsnally globose. 

A. APPLANATA Lcmairc. — Leaves crowded upon a short 
axis, making a contracted, very symmetrical rosette, which 
may bear over a hundred leaves, and have a height nearly 
equal to the diameter; younger leaves ascending, more 
or less acute or acuminate, or with their upper margins 

♦ Notes on a MUitary Reconnoissance. Washington (1848). 104, 


curved inward with an acuminate effect, lower ones spread- 
ing, broader, scarcely or slightly tapering at apex ; leaves '' 
oblong-lanceolate to spatulate or broadly ovate, 25 to 40 
or 60 cm. long, 8 to 17 or 25 cm. broad, 25 to 40 mm. or 
more thick at cushion above base, rigid, thick, slightly nar- 
rowed above the broad clasping base, convex on lower side, 
flat on upper side in lower half, and concave in upper half, 
color from cinereous, glaucous, blue-green to grass-green ; 
terminal spine stout, 15 to 25 mm. long, sometimes much 
longer, purplish-black or brown, often grayish in age, 
flattened and channeled above; horny margin purplish or 
brown turning gray, more or less decurrent, sometimes 
extending to base of leaf; prickles 1 to 2 cm. apart, the 
lower ones gradually smaller, more close-set and deflexed; 
scape stout, 25 to 50 dm. (or even 9 to 12 m.) high, bearing 
numerous large herbaceous bracts, which taper very nar- 
rowly and end in a sharp point; panicle a meter or more 
long, one-third as wide in the middle ; branches horizontal 
or somewhat ascending, stout, flattened horizontally; 
flowers campanulate spreading, yellow or greenish or 
brownish-yellow, crowded on short pedicels, 35 to 60 mm. 
long; segments 15 to 21 mm. long; filaments inserted a 
very little below cutting of lobes, 35 to 42 mm. long; 
anthers 14 to 15 mm. long ; capsules stout and broad, 3 to 
5 cm. long, about half as broad. Nectar abundant. Frar 
grance pleasant. Propagation by offsets and suckers. 

A. applanata is described as a Mexican species. So far 
as I have been able to ascertain. Dr. Trelease is the only 
one who has alluded to it as occurring within our borders.* 
A si)ecies in the mountains of Western Texas is appar- 
ently the same as the form common in European and 
American greenhouses under this name. The Texan plant 
is variable, but many specimens show a resemblance to Dr. 
Engelmann's A. Parryi which indicates a close relationship. 
There also seem to be many grades intermediate between 

♦Report of Missouri Botanical Garden^ iv. 191. 



Pringle's type spedmens of^ A. Huachucensis Baker, and 
the Rothrock specimens upon which Dr. Engelmann founded 
his description of A. Parryi. I have, therefore, though 
with considerable hesitation and reluctance, provisionally 
brought the three forms together as one species. I have 
felt obliged to call it A. applanata (though I have not been 
able to examine the European type specimens), as that is 
the oldest name. The Mexican type is described as 
having leaves more narrowed above the base than we 
find to be the case in the proportions of ours in mature 
plants. Mr. Baker describes it as having leaves 8 to 12 
inches long, 3 to 3^ inches broad at the middle, narrowed 
to 2 to 2 j- inches above the base; flowers greenish- 
yellow, 2^ to 3 inches long. At the time of my visit 
to Texas the flowering season was practically over, and 
I was only fortunate enough to secure a very few re- 
tarded flowers, which were yellow and smaller than Baker 
describes. The herbarium material from Texas is very 
scanty and consists of a set of leaves labeled A. Wislizeni, 
accompanied by a very few flowers and capsules, in the 
Engelmann Herbarium. These were collected by Dr. 
Havard in the Guadalupe Mountains, October, 1881, possi- 
bly with the purpose of showing variations in the forms of 
leaves. The flowers in this set are much larger than tho 
ones I saw. They have their filaments inserted at or a 
little above the middle of the tube. If there is no mistake 
as to the localities in which they were found, it seems to 
indicate that there is another form which I have not been 
able to separate by leaf characters. I hope it may be 
looked for. Similar flowers were collected by C. Wright 
in New Mexico in 1851 and 1852 (his number 1906). 
These flowers are not accompanied by leaves. Compari- 
sons should be made with A. Wislizeni, which has a similar 
insertion of stamens. A. Wislizeni has been credited to 
Texas by Dr. Engelmann in his manuscript notes, by Dr. 
Coulter in the Botany of Western Texas, and by Dr. 


The Texas plant is less Compact than the other forms; 
its leaves are very rigid, oblong or spatulate, with a more 
or less acute, sometimes very acuminate apex, 18 to 30 cm. 
long, 9 to 12 cm. wide, bluish-green, cinereous, very glau- 
cous; end-spine stout, 30 to 45 mm. long, purplish or 
reddish-black; horny margin of same color, occasionally 
traceable as a narrow line extending to base; prickles 
prominent, large, lanceolate, 7 to 9 mm. long, turned for- 
ward and upward ; scape 25 to 50 dm* high, branches often 
ascending, flowers (fresh) 35 to 44 mm. from base of ovary 
to tips of lobes ; ovary 18 to 23 mm. long ; tube 2 to 3 mm. 
long ; lobes 15 to 16 mm. long ; filaments 35 mm. ; anthers 14 
mm. long. Style at length slightly exceeding filaments. 
Perianth, filaments, anthers, styles and stigmas yellow, ovar- 
ies green or greenish-yellow. Odor pleasant, not especially 
strong. Blooms in May and early June. — Lemaire, ex Ja- 
cobi, in Hamb. Gartenz. xx. (1864) 550. — Western Texas 
in Chenate region, Chisos, Guadalupe and Sierra Blanca 
Mountains, to Fort Davis. — Plate 35. The end-spines are 
sometimes much elongated. A plant was observed at 
SieiTa Blanca upon which they measured from three to 
four inches. The few flowers which came under my 
observation were small and of a bright yellow color. Dr. 
Havard states that the glaucous leaved form of Agave 
served the Indians for Mescal, and that the pits for cook- 
ing it are to be seen in the Guadalupe mountains. . At the 
Columbian Exposition this plant was labeled A. Parryi. 
In Dr. Coulter's Texan Botany A. Parryi is included in 
the flora. The plant is certainly not the one figured by 
Todaro in Hort. Bot. Panormitanus as A. applanata, but 
his figure does not correspond with Jacobi's description, 
nor represent the plant commonly cultivated under that 

Var. Paebti. Mature plant more compact, globose, 
large, many specimens measuring from one to one and a 
half meters in diameter, and having a central pjnramidal 


bud 15 to 18 cm. in diameter at base, and 25 to 27 cm. 
high; leaves less rigid, more appressed, proportionally 
broader, and with much less acumination, from 30 to 38 
cm. long above insertion, 10 to 14 cm. wide, often 4 cm. 
thick at cushion above base, broadest above the middle, 
color less tinged with blue, less glaucous; end-spine brown, 
22 to 25 mm. long; marginal prickles brown, shorter, 3 
to 5 mm. long, deltoid-lanceolate, deflexed or straight, 
very small at base; scape 25 to 50 dm. or more high, very 
stout, panicle occupjdng its upper half, both it and its 
horizontal branches red towards the sun; flowers much 
larger, 50 to 60 mm. long, tube 8 mm. ; segments 20 to 
21 mm. long; filaments two to three times the length of 
segments; capsule stout and broad, 3 to 5 cm. long, about 
half as broad ; seeds 8 mm. in longest diameter. Blooms in 
June and early July, matures fruit in September. Prop- 
agatjss by offsets and suckers. Nectar is very abundant, 
descending in a shower when scape is lightly shaken 
(Dr. E. L. Greene). — A. Parryi Engelmann. Trans. St. 
Louis Acad. iii. 811, Collected Writings, 310; Terr. 
Monogr. 42; Baker, Amaryllideae, 175. A. Americana ^. 
latifoUa Toirey, Bot. of Bound. 213. A. Mescal Koch 
in Wochenschrift, 1865, 94. A. crenata Jacobi, Monogr. 
229, — Southern New Mexico to Central Arizona. Mount- 
ains. Plates 36-39. 

Specimens examined: — From Arizona, seeds, 1867, 
Dr. Parry; Bischoff, Wheeler's Expedition, 1871; Dr. 
Rothro ck^JJO, 274^, ** Mescal,'; Rocky Canon, 6,000 feet, 

V-i/(V^ y JjUy, 18I4^,^xpe^ion an^^^urve]^^ 

j^\^^ Eng^iaBB'a type plant, fi^gured in Plate 3J. New Mexico, 

^ Copper Mines, E. H. Emory, October" 19th, 1846, (a 

colored drawing of this plant, made by Mr. Stanley, in 
the Torrey Herbarium, Columbia College) ; Dr. A. M. Ber- 
tholet, October, 1877 ; E. L. Greene, Silver City, June and 
October, 1880; H. H. Rusby, Bear Mts., 1881. 

This plant was discovered by Lieut. Emory, October 18, 
1846, near the Copper Mines, Santa Rita Mts., New 


Mexico, on his famous trip to California* He states * that 
*^ the Apaches make molasses of the plant, and cook it 
with horse meat.'* Both Dr. Parry and Dr. Palmer also 
state that it is the plant used by Indians of the 35th Parallel 
for making ** Mescal," but Dr. Wilcox asserts that the A. 
Palmeri is the only species used in Arizona for that pur- 
pose, and also that the cattle will ojaly nibble the A. Parryi 
but that they eat the A. Palmeri. 

The plant described as blooming at the Missouri Botan- 
ical Garden t and reported to have been sent from Arizona 
immediately previous to sending up its scape, was photo- 
graphed here at the time, and plate 42 is reproduced from 
the original. A comparison with the illustrations in the 
Gardener's Chronicle, in Engelmann's Collected Writings, 
and the Agricultural Report for 1891, 358, plate vi., will 
show that the artist, unfortunately, in some way received a 
wrong impression of the extent of the decurrent leaf 
margins. The leaves of this plant are narrower, glaucous, 
spreading, with purplish tips, margin and prickles* The 
flowers are considerably smaller than the Bothrock type 
specimens, and the whole plant is very similar to the 
Texan form. — Plates 42 and 43. 

Var. HuACHUGENSis. — With same compact globose 
form, grass green, outer leaves very broad, often 25 cm. 
wide, and exceptionally 37 cm. (Dr. Wilcox), seldom 
over 65 cm. long; end-spine very stout, 25 mm. long, 
brown; marginal prickles brown, lanceolate-deltoid, de- 
flexed, 8 to 12 mm. long; scape very stout; flowers 
yellow, 55 to 60 mm. long; tube 8 to 12 mm. long; seg- 
ments 18 to 21 mm. long; stamens two to three times as 
long as segments. Blooms in middle of July and matures 
fruit in September. Propagates by offsets and suckers. — 
A. Huachucensis Baker, 'Amaryllideae, 172. — Found in 

* Notes on a Military Beconnoissance. Washington (1848). 104. 
t Engelm. Gard. Chron., Ang., 1879; CoUected Writings, 821. 


Huachuca Mountains, Arizona, from an elevation of 5,000 

feet to the top of the mountains. — Plates 40 and 41. 

Professor Tourney states that the plants often have a 

purplish cast which extends even to the flowers. 

Specimens examined: — From J. G. Lemmon, September, 

1883; C. G. Pringrle, June, 1884, 5.000 to 8>000 f e> »t; Dr. 

T. E. Vilcox, 1893; Professor J. W. Toumey, July 17, 


*^** stamens inserted near the middle of tube. 

= Leaves relatively broad and short, deep-green^ not glaucous; plant 
caulescent^ globose. California. 

A. Shawii Engelm. — Shortly caulescent, growing in 
large, dense rosettes from 5 to nearly 10 dm. in diameter, 
and, including the trunk, of about the same height; trunk 
20 to 30 cm. long, clothed with the bases of the old leaves ; 
leaves oblong-spatulate, acuminate, 25 to 40 cm. long, 8 
to 12 cm. wide, 5.5 cm. thick at the cushion-like lower 
portion, broadest above the middle, deeply concave with 
narrowly acuminate effect in upper portion of young 
leaves; end-spine stout, 30 to 35 mm. long, channeled 
above, rounded below ; margin broad, decurrent nearly or 
quite to base; prickles largest at middle of leaf, 6 to 15 
mm. long, lanceolate, deltoid, close-set, generally turning 
outward and upward; color of end-spine, margin and 
prickles creamy white with a light salmon tint, changing 
successively to yellow, salmon, red, brown and gray as the 
leaves are maturing; margin and prickles sometimes be- 
come detached as in A. Lechuguilla; scape 24 to 36 dm. 
high, 50 to 65 cm. thick, nearly covered with leafy, ap- 
pressed, deltoid-acuminate bracts 8 to 15 cm. long, with 
brown scarious margins and spiny tips ; branches of panicle 
flattened, 10 to 22 cm. long, longest ones towards the 
middle, all subtended by large spreading bracts; flowers 
sessile at ends of branches in large compact clusters of 
20 to 30, surrounded by thick, leafy bracts ; flowers 75 to 
87 mm. long; perianth greenish-yellow, infundibular. 


broad, 4 to 5 cm. from base of style to tips of lobes, which 
are a little longer than the tube ; filaments inserted a little 
above the middle of tube and much protruded ; anthers 27 
mm. long; style at length 11 cm. or more; capsule sessile, 
cuspidate, 6 to 7 cm. long, slender; seeds 7 to 8 mm. in 
longest diameter ; flowers filled to the brim with a whitish, 
slightly nauseating nectar. — ^Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. 314 
and 579, Collected Writings, 311, 316. (Plates 44 and 47 
are taken from Engelmann's illustration of the plant which 
bloomed at the Garden). — Terr. Monogr. 49; Baker, 
Amaryllideae, 172. — On mesas near coast in Southwestern 
California, as far north as Point Loma and extending 
southwards in Lower California. Abundant in vicinity of 
Western Initial Boundary Monument. — Plates 44 to 47. 

Specimens examined : — From Dr. Parry ; Dr. Palmer, 
1875, San Diego; G. R. Hitchcock, Nov., 1875; Missouri 
Botanical Garden, flowers, Feb., 1877; C. R. Orcutt, 
Lower California, April, 1886 ; G. W. Drown, San Diego, 
July, 1895; T. S. Brandegee, Lower California, April, 

s= asLeaves relatively narrow, often long; acaolescent. New Mexico 
and Arizona. 

A. Palmebi Engelm. — Leaves numerous, ascending and 
spreading, deep green, usually concave on upper side, more 
or less glaucous, sometimes crenate, 20 to 150 cm. long, 
5 to 12 cm. wide, oblanceolate, tapering ; end-spine slender, 
brown, channeled, 20 to 35 mm. long; horny margia 
more or less decurrent; prickles rather close set, variable 
in size, large ones often alternating with smaller, flexuous 
or recurved; scape 25 to 36 dm. or even 65 dm. high, and 
may be as much as 15 cm. in diameter at base, clothed with 
short, broad bracts ; panicle long, open ; flowers greenish 
or yellowish- white, sometimes yellow, 40 to 55 mm. long; 
segments 12 to 15 mm. long, shorter than the tube, the 
exterior ones hooded and thickened at the apex, interior ones 
broader ; filaments long, inserted above or below the middle 


of tube, purplish; anthers 12 to 15 mm. long; capsules 
slender, 30 to 50 cm. long, 15 to 17 mm. wide; seeds very 
small for the group, 4 to 6 mm. in largest diameter. 
Odor very offensive, — Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. 319, 
Collected Writings, 313; Terr. Monogr. 42; Baker, 
Amaryllideae, 178. — Southeastern Arizona and Southwest- 
em New Jtfexico, ascending to 6,300 feet. — Plates 48 to 52. 

Specimens examined : — From Dr. Palmer, Camp Bowie, 
New Mexico, 1869, and Nov., 1870, locality not given; 
Dr. Parry, capsule and seeds, no date; Camp near Sun 
Flower Valley, Dr. Gerard, No. 2, 1873; Santa Eita Mts. 
Dr. Engelmann, Sept., 1880; Benson, Arizona, Dr. G. E. 
Vasey, 1881; Santa Catalina Mts., Mr. C. G. Pringle, 
June, 1881, flowers yellow, and June, 1882; Mr. C. T. 
Brandegee, Santa Eita Mts., Nov., 1891; Dr. T. E. Wil- 
cox, Fort Huachuca, 1893; Prof. J. W. Toumey, Santa 
Catalina Mts., July and December, 1894, and June 20, 

Blooms early in July and matures fruit in September 
(Toumey). It propagates itself by offsets and sometimes 
also by suckers. A. Palmeri varies greatly in size, and 
proportional length, breadth, and thickness of leaves. 
Whether these differences remain constant and are correl- 
ated with others entitling them to varietal distinction I 
have not been able to determine. Quite young plants in the 
Huachuca Mountains are said to be difficult to distinguish 
from those of A. applanata Huachucensis, and many very 
short-leaved plants grow there, but the mature plants of 
A. Palmeri are usually recognized at a glance. The 
inflorescence is looser and more spreading, the flowers have 
shorter, broader segments, the filaments are inserted deep 
in the tube, the capsules are longer and more slender, the 
seeds are much smaller, and the mature leaves much nar- 
rower and longer. I found a plant of this species a few 
miles from Fort Bayard, whose leaves had a brown margin 
extending to the base. Professor Toumey reports that 
plants of A. Palmeri often have a purplish cast which 


extends even to the flowers. Dr. Wilcox states that after 
making many and careful inquiries he is convinced that 
A. Palmeri is the only species used in Arizona for food or 
for making the liquor <* Mescal." 

8=3 Bs s Leaves very rough. 


A. ASFEBBiMA Jacobi. — Acaulescent; leaves few, with 
few fibers, broadly spreading, very concave on upper side, 
rounded on lower, very rough on both sides, dull green, 
glaucous, 45 to 120 cm. long, thick at base, broadest for 
some distance in the middle, and tapering very narrowly to 
the compressed apex; end-spine brown, 30 to 55 mm. long, 
slender, terete, very pungent, decurrent as a narrow bor- 
der for a considerable distance ; margin somewhat repand ; 
prickles commencing 10 to 15 cm. below apex, large, del- 
toid-cuspidate, 7 to 10 mm. long, spreading or reflexed, 
rather remote; flowers 75 mm. long; ovary 30 mm.; seg- 
ments 20 mm. ; filaments attached a little above the middle 
of tube, 70 mm. long ; anthers very large, 25 to 30 mm. 
long: — Hamb. Gartenz. xx. (1864) 561, Monogr. 61; 
Baker, Amaryllideae, 173. — Plate 53. 

This plant is reported as occurring spontaneously in 

Texas at a point about twenty miles northeast of San 

Antonio, and at Eagle Pass. From the former place Mr. 

Gurney received a plant a number of years ago, and Dr. 

Ten Eyck has sent a specimen leaf from the latter. Dr. 

Ten Eyck was kind enough to search for fruiting capsules 

but without success. A specimen in the Garden Herbarium 

sent by Mr. C. G. Pringle from " mesas near Jimulco,* 

State of Coahuila, Mexico, April 9, 1886," has prickles 

more numerous than those upon the Texas specimens. The 

plant should be looked for in Texas at other points between 

San Antonio and the Eio Grande. 

4~-i~ Leaf without homy margin ; edge repand ; teeth prominent . — Amer- 
ICANAB (Baker). (Look for A. J^almerjf nnder Snbmarginatae.) 

A. Americana L. — Leaves oblanceolate to spatulate, 10 
to 20 dm. long, 15 to 22 cm. wide( glaucous; end spine 35 

t ^ ( 


to 50 mm. long, brown; marginal prickles brown, deltoid- 
cuspidate, unequal; scape 8 to 12 m. high, with 20 to 40 
branches; flowers 75 to 90 mm. long; segments 25 to 30 
mm. long, yellowish ; filaments inserted above middle of 
tube, twice as long as segments; capsule oblong, 5 cm. 
long.— Sp. PL (1753) 323; Jacobi, Monogr. 5; Terr. 
Monogr. 45 ; Baker, Amaryllideae, 180 ; Danielli in Nuov. 
Giom. Bot. Ital. xvii. 49 to 138. — This handsome and 
useful* species is said to have become spontaneous at a few 
places in Southern Texas. Mr. Nealley reports it as being 
abundant between San Antonio and Eagle Pass, among 
Chapparal. Professor Bolfs states that it flourishes and 
blooms in Florida without protection, as far north as Eustis 
in Lake County, and at Braidentown on the East coast. 
With protection it has bloomed at Jacksonville. It appears 
to stand the frost better than the other Agaves found in 
Florida, excepting of course the A. Virginica, which is 
reported only from the northern part of the State. Dr. 
Havard recommends its cultivationf for the manufacture 
of fiber, pulque and mescal. This is the species commonly 
called Maguay and Century Plant. 

The central pith (pita) of Maguay stalks is very commonly 
used by entomologists for lining their insect boxes. Hum- 
boldt states t that next to maize and potato this plant is the 
most useful of all the productions which nature has supplied 
to the mountaineers of tropical America. He mentions its 
use for fiber, pulque, and mescal, and also states that the 
juice {xugode cocucuyza) of immature plants is very acrid 
and is successfully employed as a caustic in the cleaning of 
wounds. The prickles which terminate the leaves served 
formerly for pins and nails to the Indians. The Mexican 
priests pierced their flesh with them in their acts of expia- 
tion. He says that the ancient Aztecs macerated the leaves 

♦ See section '* Economic Uses " in preUminary portion of this paper, 
t Proceedings U. S. National Mnsenm, 1885, 519. 
t Essai Politique snrla NonveUe Espagne (Paris^ 1811), torn. ii. 418 
to 428. 


and disposed them in layers like the fibers of the Egyptian 
papyrus and the mulberry (Broussonetia) of the South Sea 
Islands. This formed paper upon which their hieroglyphics 
were painted. Their manuscripts were folded in rhombic 
form and were bound in some resemblance to our quarto 
books by fastening wooden boards to the extremities. 
Humboldt states that no nation of the old continent made 
such an extensive use of hieroglyphics an3 in none do we see 
real books bound in the way described. 

••—•—•- Leaf without horny margin, slightly if at all repand; teeth smaU Ce^*^"^^ 

if present. — Bigidab (Baker). /->c<^'rJ^^ 

Somewhat caulescent; leaves usually entire. 

V 1 

A EiGiDA siSALANA Engclm. — Lcavcs bright dark green, ^ • ' ^ ^ 


120 to 180 cm. long, 10 to 14 cm. wide, narrowed, thick- 
ened and keeled above the base, broadest a little above or 
at the middle, and tapering to the apex; terminal spine •/ . (S 
terete, reddish-brown, not channeled, but slightly indented ^ 
at the base, 1 to 2 cm. long, not decurrent ; margin usually 
entire, but often with occasional sharp, unequal prickles, 
and sometimes with stout ones ; scape 45 to 90 dm. high ; 
panicle much branched, sometimes covering half the length 
of the scape, and having a width about half its length ; 
flowers 55 to 65 mm. long; ovary rather broad; perianth 
campanulate, 33 to 35 mm. long; segments a little longer 
than the tube ; filaments inserted above the middle, nearly 
at the line which would mark the upper third of tube, 55 to 
.60 mm. long; anthers 2 cm. long; capsules oblong, about 
50 mm. long and half as wide. Propagation by pole plants 
and suckers. — Trans. St. Louis Acad. iii. 312, Collected 
Writings, 312; Baker, Amaryllideae, 181. — Yucatan, 
Southern Florida below the frost line, and the adjacent 
islands, including the Keys and the Bahamas. — -Plates 54, 
55 and 56. Dr. Havard and Dr, Coulter state that it 
occurs in Southern Texas. 

Specimens examined : — From Merida, Yucatan, Dr. 
Schott, 1865 ; Key West, Wright, Parry, and Brummel, 


1871 ; Miami, A. P. Garber, July, 1877; Indian Key and 
Biscayne Bay, A. H. Curtiss, 1872; Tampa, Dr. Geo. 
Va^ey, 1892; Jupiter, C. R. Dodge, 1891; H. J. Webber, 
1895; C. T. McCarty, 1895; Missouri Botanical Garden. 

The A. rigida sisalana seems to have become fully natu- 
ralized in Florida, but it is found near spots that at some 
time have been under cultivation. It was first taken to 
Florida by Dr. Perrine from Yucatan in 1836.* It is 
called Yaxci, Yaxqui (pronounced Yaash-ki), by the 
natives in Yucatan, and is cultivated by them to some ex- 
tent, but is not so productive there as their Saqui, or A. 
rigida elongata. In Florida the fiber is finer, longer, and 
stronger than that obtained from the Yucatan plants, and 
much is hoped for in its cultivation. It is growing spon- 
taneously at many points along the coast between Titus- 
ville on the east and Charlotte Harbor on the west. Its 
largest tract is Indian Key; the largest and finest plants are 
found at Upper Metacombe and Boca Chica Keys. Plants 
were seen by Mr. Dodge on the former whose leaves were 
two feet above a man's head. Other large tracts are on 
Key West, the group of Keys including Lignum Vitae, 
etc., the old Perrine Grant, Biscayne Bay, Miami, Indian 
River, Jupiter and Juno. It has also been known in Polk 
County in the interior for the past forty years, where it 
forms impenetrable thickets ** unharmed by frost, fires or 
any other cause.'' Two patches covering a quarter of an 
acre are said to have grown from two original plants.! The 
plant is also said to have been successfully introduced on 
the Lower Rio Grande. t 

In Florida this Agave is usually known by the name of 
Sisal Hemp. Its reproduction by means of '' Pole Plants " 

* Senate Document No. 800, March, 18S8. Report of U. S. Department 
of Agriculture, 1869. Fiber Investigations, C. B. Dodge, Reports 8 and 
5, Depart. Agric, 1891, 1898. 

t Fiber Investigations, No. 5, (1898), 17, U. S. Dept. Agric, C. R. 

t Proceedings of U. S. National Museum, 1885, 519, Dr. V. Havard. 


is very interesting. After the blossoms begin to wither 
and fall away, buds develop from the stalk below and grow 
into small plants. After attaining a size of from three to 
ten inches, they fall to the ground and take root. They 
have very great vitality and develop into stout, strong 
plants. In cultivation, they are much used for planting. 
A single flowering stalk (pole or mast) will bear from one 
to two thousand pole plants ; as many as twenty-five hun- 
dred have been reported. The species is said to have 
spread over the Keys by means of buds from the poles 
being driven by the currents of air and water. 

This Agave matures in from six to seven years. By 
cutting its leaves, the period of poling is retarded, and the 
size and productiveness of the pole is lessened. Its average 
life in Florida is twelve years. 

It is a question whether this variety can be divided into 
two forms which grow independently. Mr. Dodge* speaks 
of a distinctly spined form growing in some places, and 
the common smooth-leaved form in others. He also quotes 
from those who assert that both forms may be found on a 
single pole, and that a plant is sometimes found whose 
leaves are spiny-edged on one margin and entire on the 
other. In Yucatan the plant bears spines, and it is said 
that the influence of soil and climate tend to produce the 
smooth-leaved form from the other. The shortly spinedt 
form is invariably shorter-leaved and stockier, and the 
smooth-leaved form spreads much the faster. 

** ** Caulescent; teeth prominent. 

A. DBCiPiENS Baker. — Trunk 10 to 15 dm. long, 
clothed with the old recurved leaves; young leaves 
erect and ascending, mature ones spreading, "becoming 
more and more reflexed, old ones recurved; fleshy 
leaf-bases clasping the considerably elongated axis and 
giving it a swollen and spindle-like effect ; leaves usually 

* Report of 1898, p. 28. 

t Dodge, Report of 1891, p. 14. 


10 to 13 dm, long, at Lake Worth 20 to 25 dm. long, 6 
to 10 cm. wide, narrowed and thickened above the broad 
base, widest near the middle, acuminate at the apex, 
brighter green than the A. rigida sisalana ; end spine brown, 
10 to 15 mm. long, terete; marginal prickles small, but 
made conspicuous by the somewhat repand margin, very 
sharp, rather close-set and usually recurved ; scape 50 to 
60 dm. high, rather loosely branching in upper half; 
flowers greenish-yellow, about 75 mm. long ; tube funnel- 
shaped; segments 16 to 17 mm. long, twice as long as 
tube ; filaments inserted at the middle of the tube, 33 to 
37 mm. long; ovary oblong; pole plants and suckers very 
abundant. — Kew Bulletin, July and August, 1892, 184; 
Fiber Investigations, Report No. 5 (1893), 33, U. S. Dept. 
Agric. — Plates 57, 58, 59. — Southeastern Florida, Jupiter, 
Biscayne Bay, Lake Worth and other points along the coast 
to Key West. — Specimens examined: — From Mr. C. E. 
Dodge, Southern Florida, 1892, 1895 ; Mr. C. T. McCarty, 
1895; Mr. H. J. Webber, 1895; leaves and plants grow- 
ing in the Garden. 

This plant was so named by Mr, Baker on account of its 
having been frequently mistaken for the true sisal hemp, 
the A. rigida sisalana. This has caused considerable pecu- 
niary loss to those who have unfortunately planted it 
in place of the other, as its fiber is softer and weaker. 
Though whiter and finer, it is very inferior to the sisalana 
both in quantity and quality. The false sisal may be easily 
distinguished by its tall trunk and bright green radiating 
leaves. The decipiens will grow in the shade but the 
sisalana will not, and while the latter is found near the 
coast, and near to present or past points of cultivation, 
the. false sisal is found at a distance from both. In some 
places. Sand's Key, Lake Worth, etc., the grcVth of this 
form is very luxuriant; sometimes it rises to the height of 
four meters from the ground, and bears leaves two to two 
and a half meters long, and a mast over six meters high, 
and seven to ten centimeters in diameter. Its juice is very 


acrid, and is poisonous to the human skin, causing intense 
irritation. It is a very showy and handsome plant. 

Mr. Dodge* refers to this plant as being cultivated in the 
Botanical Garden at Washington, D. C, under the name of 
A. Mexicana. There is also a fine plant at one time lab- 
eled A. Mexicana growing in the Missouri Botanical Gar- 
den, which is figured in plate 56. This is obviously not 
A. Mexicana, but identical with the Florida plants. Mr. 
Gurney, the head gardener, says that it was sent to Dr. 
Engelmann by Dr. Parry from Northern Mexico. This 
perhaps indicates the native home of the species. A glance 
at the plate will show the abundance of suckers developed 
close to the trunk of the parent plant. The old recurved 
leaves are trimmed off. 
^ 4^ +■¥ Acaulescent; teeth very minute. 

A. sp. — Leaves ascending and spreading, on young 
plants rather thin, brittle, and much recurved, on old plants 
very numerous, fleshy, heavy, and slightly recurved, light 
bluish-green, glaucous, 15 to 28 dm. long, 20 to 25 cm. 
wide, very thick at base, broadest at the middle, tapering 
to the apex, somewhat rough; end spine brown, terete, 
very narrowly channeled for a short distance; marginal 
prickles very minute and close-set, somewhat tinged with 
brown; scape nearly 13 m. high, branching at about one- 
fifth of the distance from the top; branches bracteate; 
flowers yellowish-green, (dried) 55 mm. long; segments 
narrow, 23 mm. long; filaments inserted above the middle 
of the tube, protruded for a considerable distance; ovary 
20 mm. long, slender; pole plants and suckers numer- 
ous. — Plates 60 and 61. — Florida, Occasionally to be met 
with from Indian Eiver to the Perrine Grant, — at Jupiter, 
Lake Worth, Cocoanut Grove, etc. 

Young plants were received at the Garden last season 
from Mr. Kirk Munroe, Cocoanut Grove, Mr. C. T. 

Report No. S, Fiber Investigations, Dept. Agric, 1891, 43. 


McCarty, Ankona, Mr. H. J. Webber, and Mr. C. B. 

Mr. Munroe writes that a plant of his figured by Mr. 
Dodge* grew finally to be eight feet tall and about 
thirty feet in circumference before it flowered. A single 
leaf about five feet long, weighed eight pounds. It 
matured at seven years of age and " shot up a pole 40 
feet high." I have based my description of the inflor- 
escence upon his plant and a specimen sent by Mr. Webber 
from the sub-tropical laboratory at Eustis. No capsules 
were reported from either place. 

To avoid further confusion in nomenclature, I refrain 
from giving a name to this plant until it is possible to 
obtain further data. Mr. Dodge states that it is allied to 
A. Americana, and that the fiber is similar in every respect, 
crinkly and elastic, and very white. He writes me that 
Mr. Smith of the Botanic Garden at Washington calls 
the plant A. pruinosa. I find, however, that A. pruinosa 
is described as having no pungent end-spine and is 
altogether a decidedly smaller plant, with different leaf 
proportions. Mr. Webber writes that it is cultivated at 
Eustis under the name of A. rigida recurvata. I am 
unable to trace any record of such a variety of A. rigida, 
and do not feel sure that the plant belongs to that species. 

Beasoner Brothers, of the Boyal Palm Nurseries, of 
Oneca, Florida, catalogue and figure a plant under the 
name of A. recurvata, which I supposed might be identical, 
though they do not state whether the plant is a Florida 
Agave, or give any adequate description. Upon writing to 
them, they replied that the name is a misnomer, and that 
they do not know of the plant being so catalogued elsewhere. 
They suggest that it may be A. striata var. recurva. This it 
certainly is not. Upon receiving the plants last spring, I 
was struck by their resemblance to specimens in the Agave 
House here labeled A. miradorensis, and this resemblance 

Report No. 5 (1898), 88. 


has DOW become even more striking in all points save in 
rapidity of growth; these young specimens having in a 
single year nearly reached the size of the older plants, 
which have scarcely grown at all. These older plants 
were raised from seed sent to the Garden several years 
ago. Mr. Gumey says that they are the same as plants 
called A. albicans by Dr. Engelmann, but that species be- 
longs to the Littaea section. The plants in question seem 
to correspond better with those from Florida than to the 
descriptions given of either A. miradorensis or A. albicans* 

A. sp. — A fragment of a leaf sent by Dr. B. D. Ten 
Eyck from Eagle Pass, Texas, Feb. 7, 1895, still remains 

The leaf is dark green , with a smooth shining surface, 
about 25 dm. long, 12 to 20 cm. wide, tapering to the apex, 
with a slight compression at the tip, giving an acuminate 
aspect, 3.5 mm. thick, soft, flexible, with few fibers; end- 
spine 4 cm. long, reddish- brown, slightly channeled on 
upper side for about half the length, and decurrent for a 
short distance; margin entire. 

Dr. Ten Eyck states that this plant, which is probably a 
Mexican species, is found spontaneous on the northern side 
of the Rio Grande in the vicinity of Eagle Pass. I have 
been unable to learn anything in regard to its inflorescence. 
Dr. Ten Eyck thinks that its occurrence may possibly 
have been caused by seeds carried to the spot from culti- 
vated plants. He looked for fruit without result. 


The line drawings have been made by Miss Grace E. 
Johnson under the supervision of the author, from herbar- 
ium material or from living plants. The half-tones are 
from photographs of plants under cultivation or in their 
native habitats. 

Plate 30 is taken from Dr. Trelease's plate (No. 32), 
in the Fifth Report of the Garden. Plates 44 and 47 are 



from E^Dgelmaim's Collected Writings^ pages 315 and 319. 
Plates 54, 55 and 58 are reprodaced by permission of the 
Secretaiy of Agricaltare from Reports No. 3 and No. 5 on 
Fiber Investigations, by Mr. C. R. Dodge. 

Plate 26. A, Virgimiea L.— Photofipnph of wUd plants at Jefferson 
BamckSy St. Lonis, taken by Mr. H. J. Webber. 

Plate 27. A, VhrgMoa !■.— 1, Leaf from liring plant in Missouri Botan- 
ical GardoiyXl; 2, inflorescence from Idttle Stone Mountain, Ga., 
X i; 3, interior of flower, X 1; ^y opened bad showing folding of 
fllamentSy X 1; 5> flower from Sliannon Connty, Mo., showing cnrrature 
of fllaments near point of insertion; 6, ripened capsules, X 1 1 7, seed, 


Plate 28. A. macMJata B^el? — 1, LiYing plant at the Garden com- 
mencing its spring growth, X I; ^y margin of leaf, X 3; 3, portion of 
infloresoenoe from Corpus Christi, X I; ^» flower of same, split open, 
X 1; 5, flower from Dr. Wislizenas, No. 373, X 1; ^> flower from Dr- 
Pklmer, No. 1306, X 1; 7. stigma, X ^• 

Plate 29. A, SehoUU Sngelm. — 1, Inflorescence, X 1; 3> flower split 
open, X 1; 3, fruit, X 1; 4> capsale,Xl; 5, A. 8choUU •crmlafa, plant, 
X i; 6, margin of leaf base, X 3; 7, flower split open, X !• 

Plate 30. A. panrtfi&ra Torrey. — 1, Vegetating plant, X 1 ; 3, leaf, 
XI; 3, portion of fruiting spike, X 1; 5, seed^X^; — all from Prof essor 
Tourney's material; Fig. 4, capsule, X 1; ^9 ^^af, X 1; 7, flowers, X 1; 
a, seed, X ^; — ^ from Schott's specimens in the Engelmann herbarium. 

Plate 31. A. Lechuguma^ Torrey.— 1, From habit sketch taken by 
Br. Trelease in Texas ; 2, outer side of leaf of plant in the Garden, X k ; 
3 and 4, cross-sections at middle and near base of leaf; 5, end-spine and 
decurrent margin seen from face of leaf ; 6, portion of inflorescence, X k ; 
7, flower split open, X 1 ; ^t ^>^^ ^ position, X i; 9, capsule, X 1 ; 10, 
seed, X 2. 

Plate 32. A, Utaheiuis, Engelm. — 1, Leaf from Peach Springs, Arizona, 
X 1; 2, portion of inflorescence from St. George, Utah, X i? 3, flower 
epVLt open, X 1; *> capsule, X 1 ; 5, seed, X 2. 

Plate 33. A. desertiy Engelmann. — Photograph taken by Parker, San 
Diego, kindly sent by Mr. F. Sutphens, Witch Creek, Gal. 

Plate 34. A, deserU, Engelm. — 1, Habit sketch reproduced by permis- 
sion of Dr. Britton from colored drawing in Torrey Herbarium, made by 
Mr. G. M. Stanley, on Emory's Expedition, Nov., 1846; 2, portion of 
inflorescence, X i» ^t insertion of stamens; 4, capsule, X 2- 

Plate 35. A. applanakiy Lem. — 1, Outer side of leaf of lai^ plant, X I ; 
2, end-spine and mar^ from face of leaf, X is 3> outer leaf of young 
plant, X i; ^9 portion of fruiting branch, X 4; ^^ interior of flower, X !• 
AU collected by author on Sierra BlancaMts., Tex. 

Plate 36. A. applanata Pwrryi. — From photograph sent by Dr. Parry to 
Dr. Engelmann, 1868, showing plant in San Francisco Mountains, Arizona. 


Hate 37. A. applanata Parryi,— l, Leaf, X J> 2, branch of inflores- 
cence, X !> 8, flower with perianth split open, X 1; *t anther, X 1; S> 
capsnle, X 2. All from Engelmann's type specimens of A. Parryl, col- 
lected by Dr. Bothrock, at Rocky Cafion^ Arizona. 

Plate 88. A. applanata Parryt— From photograph taken by anthor near 
Copper Flats, New Mexico. Opnntia arborescens Engelm. is seen at the 

Plate 39. A. applanata Parry L— 1, Outer side of leaf of medium sized 
plant, X i; 2, end-spine and margin from face of leaf; 3, flower, show- 
ing insertion of stamens, X ^ > ^> portion of fruiting branch, X i > ^» 
capsule, X 1* ^a^ ^<>^ plant sent to Garden from Finos Altos Mts.; 
flowers and fruit from Copper Flats, New Mexico. All collected by 

Plate 40. A, applanata Huachucensis, — From photograph taken by 
Dr. T. E. Wilcox, U. S. A., in Huachuca Mts. 

Plate 41. A. applanata Huachucensis, — Habit sketch of young plant 
sent by Dr. T. E. Wilcox, U. S. A., from Fort Huachuca. 

Plate 42. A, applanata Lem.— From photograph of plant blooming at 
the Garden, June^ 1879. 

Plate 43. A, applanata Lem.— From specimens in Engelmann Her- 
barium, of plant blooming in the Garden^ June, 1879. 1, Leaf dried with- 
out much pressure, therefore wrinkled, X i» 2, 3, 4, portions of bracts^ 
X 4 ; 5, flower from within, X 1 ; 6, capsule, X 1 > 7, seed, X 2 ; 8, portion 
of surface of seed, much magnified. 

Plate 44. A. Shawii Engelm.— From Dr. Engelmann's Collected Writ- 
ings, page 315. 

Plate 45. A, Shawii Engelm.— 1, From photograph taken by Parker 
& Parker, San Diego, borrowed from Gray Herbarium; 2, from photo- 
graph of young plant at Missouri Botanical Garden, in 1887. 

Plate 46. A, Shawii Engelm.— 1, Leaf of plant at the Garden, X i; 2, 
bract of inflorescence, from Engelmann herbarium, X i> 3, capsule, X !• 
Plate 47. A. Shawii Engelm. — From plant blooming at the Garden, 
Feb., 1877. Plate taken from Engelm. Collected Writings, 319. 1, 
Diagram of flower; 2, outer view of top of flower-bud; 3, inner view of 
same; 4, an opening bud; 6, section of same; 6, flower fully open; 7, 
flower on third day; 8, flower on fifth day; 9, stigma closed, X *» ^^y 
stigma expanded, X ^; ^h poUen grains, X ^00. 

Plate 48. A, Palmeri Engelm. — From photograph taken by Dr. T. 
E. Wilcox, U. S. A., near Fort Huachuca, Arizona. 

Plate 49. A. Palmeri Engelm.— From photograph taken by Dr. Tre- 
lease, of plant sent to the Garden by Mrs. Angus Campbell, from Mule 
Springs, New Mexico. — The repand form. 

Plate 60. A. Palmeri Engelm. — 1, Sections from apex, middle and 
base of leaf of plant collected by author at Lone Mountain, New Mexico, 
X 1 ; 2, sections from apex, middle and base of leaf of plant sent by 
Mrs. Angus Campbell from Mule Springs, New Mexico, X !• 

Plate 61. A. Palmeri Engelm. — 1, Mature leaf showing margin 
extending to base, X i ; 2, leaf of young plant, X i^ > 3, apex of same 


from face of leaf; 4^ portion of flowering branch, X il; ^> opened flower, 
XI- All collected by anthor near Lone Monntain, New Mexico. 

Plate 62. A. Palmeri Engelm. — 1, Flowering branch, X i > ^9 flower, 
X 1 ; 3, insertion of stamens; 4, capsules, y^l; 6, seed, X 2* 

Plate 53. ' A. (uperrima Jacob!. — 1, Leaf of plant In MissOori Botanical 
Garden, from near San Antonio, Texas, X i; ^ >^<1 3, sections of same; 
4, margin of same, X ^ ; ^t margin of leaf from Eagle Pass, X ^ ; ^9 11^' 
gin of leaf from Pringle's specimen, X ^i 7, flower from Pringle's speci- 
men, X !• 

Plate 54. A. rigida tisalana,^ JFrom Plate I. of Report No. 3, by Mr. C. 
R. Dodge, on the Leaf Fibers of the United States. 

Plate 55. A. riffida f ifotena.— From Plate V. of Report No. 8. Plant 
in flower^ and a side branch of pole, showing pole plants. 

Plate 56. A, rigida sisalana.'-l, Leaf, X i; ^> 3, and 4, sections from 
top, middle, and base of leaf, X ^ r ^9 portion of inflorescence, X 4 1 ^> 
Interior of flower, X 1; 7, yoong pole plant, X h' 

Plate 57. A, dedpiens Baker.^ From photograph taken of plant at the 
Garden, in 1887. 

Plate 58. A, deeipiena Baker. — From flgure of inflorescence on page 
80 of Report No. 5, by Mr. C. R. Dodge, on Leaf Fibers of United States. 

Plate 59. A, dedpiens Baker. — 1, Leaf, X i » ^9 3, and 4, sections from 
«pex, middle and spreading base of leaf, X ^ » ^9 portion of branch of 
inflorescence, X i> ^> flower, X !• 

Plate 60. A. 8p*— From photograph of plants sent to the Garden by 
Mr. C. T. McCarty, from Ankona, Florida. Taken by the author. 

Plate 61. ^. 8p.— li Portion of leaf, X i; 2* 3, and 4, sections of 
apex, middle and base of leaf, X ^ ; '>> portion of margin, X 2* 

Plate 62. A, harrida mieracawtha,^ From photograph of plant at the 
Garden, taken by the author, January, 1895. 

Plate 68. 1, A, Virginiea tigrina Engelm., young plant beginning its 
annual growth, sent to Garden by Dr. Mellichamp, X i; 3, seedling of A. 
applanata Buachucensis with testa still at apex of cotyledon, X ^ ; ^> 
same, further advanced, X 1> 4, margin of first leaf, X S> ^i ^^ 7, flow- 
ers of ^. harrida micracanlha; 8, 9, 10, flowe'rs of A. trntninea Watson. 
All from plants at the Garden. 

Kept. Mo. Dot. Gaud., Vol. 7. 

Plate 26. 


Rbpt. Mo. Bot. Gabd., Vol. 7. 

Plate 27. 


Rept. Mo, Box. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 28. 


Bbpt. Mo. Box. Qa.ri>,, Vol. 

Plate 29. 


KEPT. Mo. Box. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate ; 


liBPT. Mo. BOT. G1.RD., VOL. 7. 

PLilTB 81. 


REPT. Mo. BoT. Gard., Vol. 7. 

FiATB : 


Kept. Mo. Bot. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 33. 


Rbpt. Mo. Bot. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 34. 


Rbpt. Mo. Bot. Gard., Vol. 7. 

PLATB 35. "^(^CdVV^ ^^1.4, 



Reft. Mo. Bot. Card., Vol. 7. 

Plate : 


Rept. Mo. Bot. Gard., Vol 7. 

Plate 37. 


Beft. Mo. Bot. Gabd., Vol. 7. 

Plate ; 


Reft. Mo. Box. Gabd., Vol. 7. 

Plate 39. 


Bept. mo. Bot. GA.RD., Vol. 7. 

Plate 40. 


REPT. Mo. BoT. Gakd., Vol. 7. 

Plate ll. 


KEPT. Mo. Box. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 4a 



Kept. Mo. Bot. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 43. 


Ebpt. mo. bot. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 44. 

-' '1 





^ 1 



m. '1 

1 M 





1 .^ %:^'^ 

? f 


A m 


" tt ifl 

3r T^^^',*^ 



^' 'JhAdwHIAm * 












Kept. Mo. Bot. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 45. 


Rbpt. Mo. Box. Gaju>., Vol. 7 

PIATB 46. 


Bept. Mo. Box. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 47. 


Kept. Mo. Bot« Gabd., Vol. 7. 

Plate 18. 


Kept. Mo. Bot. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 49. 


REPT. Mo. BoT. Gard., Vol. 7. 

PIATB 50. 


Rept. Mo. Box. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 61. 


Rept. Mo. Box. Ga.rd . Vol. 7 

Plate 52. 


KEPT. Mo. BOT. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 58. 


Kept. Mo. Box. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 54. 


Bept. Mo. Box. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 55. 



Rbpt. Mo. Bot. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Platb 56. 


KEPT. Mo. BoT. Gabd., Vol. 7. 

Plate 67. 


Rept. Mo. Bot. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate 5S. 


KEPT. Mo. BOT. GA.RD., VOL 7. 

FLATS 59. 


Rbpt. mo. Box. Gabd., Vol. 7. 

Plate i 


Bbft. Mo. Box. Gard., Vol. 7. 

Plate fil. 


Kept. Mo. Bot. Gabd.i Vol. 7. 

Plate 62. 


Kept. Mo. Bot. Gakd., Vol. 7. 

Plate 6S. 




Reft. Mo. Bot. Gaud., Vol. 7. 

Plate 63.